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i,9''Z. 7>*& 


The Ashley-Smith Explorations 


Showing the Routes of 


Ashley s Route 
Smith's Route 

Physiographic Areas 

are indicated by tints 

See pages 18-21 



Ashley-Smith Explorations and 

the Discovery of a Central 

Route to the Pacific 


with the Original Journals edited by 
Harrison Clifford Dale 

Professor of Political Science in the University of Wyoming 

The Arthur H. Clark Company 
Cleveland : 1918 




In memory of days and nights among the mountains 
and along the streams traversed 

and revealed by 



PREFACE ' . . 13 


TO 1822 . 17 


The Ashley Narrative . . . , . . 117 

III JEDEDIAH STRONG SMITH . . . . ; . . 179 

The Smith Narrative 186 

Journal of Harrison G. Rogers, member of the 

Company of J. S. Smith . . . .' . 197 

The Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers . , 237 

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . 309 

INDEX 323 



AND SMITH ........ Frontispiece 



Reproduced from Through the Grand Canyon from Wyoming to Mexico 
by permission of the author, Mr. E. L. Kolb 




Reproduced from his "Synopsis of the Indian Tribes of North America," 
in the Transactions of the American Antiquarian Society (Cambridge, 
1836), vol. ii 

Both Ashley and Smith contributed to this map 


Since the appearance of Brigadier-general Hiram 
M. Chittenden's The American Fur Trade of the Far 
West? there has been printed a considerable volume of 
source material, covering the operations throughout 
the west of American and British fur traders with their 
attendant discoveries. The publication of the Trudeau, 
Ross, and Ogden journals, alone, has necessitated the 
reconstruction of the history of geographic discovery in 
the trans- Missouri area. The reprinting in Reuben G. 
Thwaites's Early Western Travels 2 of a number of 
hitherto very rare narratives of exploration, together 
with the collection of a considerable quantity of scat- 
tered and hitherto unpublished historical data, and the 
more recent monograph literature on particular phases 
of western exploration have all thrown much new light 
on geographic history. For this reason it has seemed 
advisable to introduce this account of the Ashley-Smith 
explorations with a brief summary of the progress of 
discovery attending the operations of the fur traders 
prior to 1822. 

The expeditions of William Henry Ashley and Je- 
dediah Strong Smith are but two divisions of one enter- 
prise, the discovery and utilisation of a central route to 
the Pacific by way of the Platte, the Interior Basin, and 

iChittenden, H M. The American Fur Trade of the Far West (New 
York, 1902), 3 vols. 

2 Thwaites, R. G. [editor]. Early Western Travels, 1748-1846 (Cleve- 
land, 1904-1908), 32 vols. 

14 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

the Colorado River. Ashley and his men plotted the 
course as far as Green River and the Great Salt Lake 
by way of the North Platte and the South Platte; 
Smith, Ashley's successor in business, continued the lat- 
ter's explorations, reaching California by way of the 
Colorado River and the Mohave Desert, returning 
from central California, eastward, across the present 
state of Nevada, to the Great Salt Lake again. A sec- 
ond expedition carried Smith, the first white man, the 
entire length of California and Oregon to the Colum- 
bia. The narratives of these explorations comprising 
a recently discovered manuscript account by William 
H. Ashley, describing his journey to and down Green 
River, in 1824-1825, a letter of Jedediah Smith, cover- 
ing his first expedition to California, an unpublished 
letter, also by him, describing his second expedition 
through California to Fort Vancouver, and the unpub- 
lished fragmentary journals of Harrison G. Rogers, 
covering both the Smith expeditions, all preserved 
among the papers of the Missouri Historical Society, 
are here for the first time brought together. 

In the preparation of this volume, I am deeply in- 
debted to the Missouri Historical Society and the Kan- 
sas Historical Society for generously placing their col- 
lections at my disposal and to the Academy of Pacific 
Coast History for furnishing me copies of manuscripts 
in their possession. In particular, I wish to express 
my thanks for the scholarly assistance rendered me by 
Miss Stella M. Drumm, librarian of the Missouri His- 
torical Society, whose intimate acquaintance with the 
bibliography of western history frequently expedited 
my work. I wish, further, to express my obligations to 
the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Library of Con- 
gress, the Adjutant-general's and Chief of Engineers' 

Preface 1 

offices of the War Department, Washington, the Gros- 
venor Library, Buffalo, and the American Antiquarian 
Society, Worcester. 


University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 
May, 1917. 

I. The Fur Trade and the Progress of 
Discovery to 1822 

Not a few of the most significant geographical dis- 
coveries in all ages have been made by men who entire- 
ly lacked special scientific training. This is notably 
the case in western America. With the possible ex- 
ception of Lewis and Clark and, in less degree, of a 
few others, the discoverers within the trans-Missouri 
area have not been professional geographers. Princi- 
pally they have been missionaries, prospectors, trap- 
pers, Indian traders, and the like, men who have en- 
tered a hitherto unknown region not with the object of 
adding to the stock of human knowledge about the face 
of the earth, but accidentally, in some cases, or for a 
distinct personal object, the attainment of which de- 
manded their penetration of the unknown. The fur 
traders and trappers form one of the most important 
classes in this group, furnishing such discoverers as 
Colter, Larocque, Ross, Ogden, Bridger, and the Sub- 

Though William Henry Ashley and Jedediah Strong 
Smith were men of this same stamp they nevertheless 
approach more nearly the scientific type than any of 
their fur trading contemporaries. Recognising fully 
the value of their work, they strove seriously to record 
the itineraries of their journeys, especially within un- 
charted regions, with such a measure of care and 
minuteness that the results of their operations, instead 

1 8 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

of being lost, might be utilized by professional geogra- 

The American West, far from being a single geo- 
graphic unit, comprises, as a matter of fact, six or seven 
distinctly defined drainage areas separated from each 
other in some places by rocky and lofty mountain bar- 
riers, in others, by almost imperceptible divides. River 
courses have always been the natural approaches to the 
interior of a country, but they served this purpose in 
the highest degree in the trans- Missouri region, where 
fur traders and hunters sought the most valuable pel- 
tries in and along the streams. 

The first area 3 to be noted, beginning at the north, 
is the Upper Missouri. This may be defined as in- 
cluding the valley of the main stream itself, from its 
three source rivers, the Jefferson, Madison, and Galla- 
tin, eastward and southward to the mouth of the Nio- 
brara, together with the great upper tributaries, Milk 
River, the Musselshell, Little Missouri, and Yellow- 
stone with the main affluents of the last, the Big Horn 
(Wind River), Little Big Horn, Tongue, and Powder 
Rivers. A number of minor streams enter the Missouri 
between the mouth of the Little Missouri and the Nio- 
brara, whose valleys may also be included. In the 
north, the Upper Missouri area extends into Canada. 
From about the interjection of the international bound- 
ary with the one hundred thirteenth meridian to a 
point near Lander, Wyoming, this area is bounded by 
the Flathead, Bitter Root, Absaroka, Grosventre, and 
Wind River Ranges, a lofty barrier on whose western 
slopes gather the waters of the Columbia. From Lan- 
der, the southern boundary runs almost due east to the 
Missouri. This is the largest of these geographic 

3 See frontispiece map. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1 82 2 19 

A second division comprises the region drained by 
the great central affluents of the Missouri, the Platte 
and the Kansas, with their tributaries. The valley of 
the Sweetwater, the main tributary of the North Platte, 
with that stream itself, lies just south of the Upper 
Missouri area, roughly separated from it by the south- 
ern spurs of the Big Horn Mountains and, along the 
boundary of Wyoming and South Dakota, by the Black 
Hills. The valley of the South Platte, whose sources 
lie in the mountains of central Colorado, is separated 
by only a low divide from the Blue, Republican, Solo- 
mon, and Smoky Hill forks of the Kansas, all to be 
included within this geographic district. The western 
boundary of the second division is, in the north, the low 
divide separating the Atlantic waters from those of the 
Colorado, and, in the south, the lofty Colorado moun- 
tains separating the same waters from the upper reaches 
of the Rio Grande. 

The cis-Rocky Southwest comprises two drainage 
areas which, however, because of the low divide sepa- 
rating them, may be considered as one. The first in- 
cludes the regions watered by the tributaries of the 
lower Missouri and Mississippi, principally, of course, 
the Arkansas ; the other, the valleys of streams flowing 
into the Gulf of Mexico, the chief and westernmost of 
which is the Rio Grande with its great affluent, the 
Pecos. The Lower Mississippi area is separated from 
the Central Missouri area by an almost imperceptible 
divide in the west but by the rugged Ozark plateau in 
the east. 

Returning to the north, beyond the high range mark- 
ing the western boundary of the Upper Missouri area, 
lies a fourth district, the Columbia Basin, extending 
southward to approximately the forty-second parallel 
and including the Clark and Lewis forks of the Colum- 

2O The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

bia with their numerous tributaries. The short streams 
of Washington and Oregon flowing directly into the 
Pacific may also, for convenience, be included in this 

South of the forty-second parallel lies the Interior 
Basin, comprising most of Utah and Nevada with a 
portion of California, Oregon, and Wyoming. Only a 
low divide separates this area from the Columbia Basin 
on the north and from the Colorado drainage area on 
the northeast, southeast, and south, while to the west, on 
the other hand, the lofty Sierras clearly define it. This 
series of low divides to the north, northeast, and south- 
east largely accounts for the fact that the Interior Basin 
remained so long unidentified and for the natural sup- 
position that it was a part either of the Columbia or of 
the Colorado drainage areas. Had it been approached 
from California instead of from the east, its real nature 
would undoubtedly have been recognized early. 

South of the Interior Basin and west of the Rio 
Grande extends the Colorado River drainage area as 
far as the Mexican boundary and the Gulf of Califor- 
nia, comprising most of Arizona with parts of Utah, 
Nevada, and California. As stated above, only a low 
divide separates it at most points from the Interior 

Last of all, beyond the Sierras, is the Pacific drain- 
age area, divided into a northern and southern half by 
the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. To this be- 
longs also the narrow littoral between the Coast range 
and the sea. 

Each of these areas may be said to be dominated by 
a single stream, the Upper Missouri by the Missouri, 
the Central Missouri by the Platte, the Lower Missis- 
sippi by the Arkansas, the Gulf by the Rio Grande, the 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1 822 21 

Columbia by that river, the Interior Basin by Bear 
River or the Humboldt, the Colorado by Green River 
and the Colorado itself, the Pacific by the San Joaquin- 

The operations of the fur traders were not extended 
equally into all these areas. Generally speaking their 
contributions to geographic discovery were confined to 
the Upper Missouri, the Central Missouri, the Interior 
Basin, and the Columbia drainage areas. The Lower 
Mississippi, the Gulf, Colorado River, and Pacific 
areas were not only less productive of furs but had been 
discovered and in large measure explored before the 
extensive development of the fur industry began. Fur 
traders, to be sure, penetrated these regions from time 
to time in search of peltries, and in their wanderings 
contributed to geographic knowledge, but their results 
were less significant here than in the north. The geo- 
graphic contributions of Ashley and Smith were made 
chiefly within the Central Missouri area and the Interior 
Basin, though their operations extended into nearly all 
the other districts, while Smith made discoveries of 
first importance within the northern part of the Pacific 
drainage area. 

St. Louis was the center of the fur trade and conse- 
quently the starting point of expeditions of discovery. 
Even before the coming of Laclede, French coureurs 
de bois and half-breed whites, following in the steps of 
La Harpe and Du Tisne, of De Bourgmont, and of 
Mallet, without probably ever having heard of these 
gentlemen, pushed up the Missouri and its central trib- 
utaries at least as far as Kansas City and perhaps to 
Omaha. After 1764, a greater number pressed farther 
and farther into the interior, continuing up the Missouri 
to the Great Bend and up the Platte and Kansas to the 

22 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

foot-hills of the Rockies. The farther they penetrated, 
however, and the more diverse the reports of what they 
had seen, the more confused became the actual geogra- 
phic knowledge of the interior. This was notably the 
situation in 1793, when, at the instigation of the lieuten- 
ant-governor of the province, Zenon Trudeau, who 
wished "to enlighten the age in regard to that portion 
of the globe as yet so little known," 4 nine or ten fur 
traders, out of some twenty odd who were invited, or- 
ganized La Compagnie de Comerce pour la Decou- 
verte des Nations du haul du Missouri? 

The patron of this undertaking, recognizing how im- 
portant were the discoveries the Missouri fur traders 
were making each year, resolved to follow them up by 
careful exploration. 

To effect this, he required in pursuing this trade, those engaged 
in it, would pay attention to unite to the employees they might 
send to the country, enlightened persons, who would use every 
exertion to penetrate to the sources of the Missouri, and beyond, 
if possible, to the Southern Ocean - take observations and 
heights of localities and notices of the tribes who inhabit them, 
their habits and customs, the trade that might be established 
with them note them as suitable marts for trade, or forts for 
the protection of commerce, in a word, to acquire a correct 
knowledge of a country until this period solely inhabited by In- 
dian tribes, and almost entirely unknown. 6 

A school-master, Jean Baptiste Trudeau, a relative 
of the lieutenant-governor, was accordingly selected, as 

* Billon, F. L. Annals of St. Louis (St. Louis, 1880), 283. 

6 Douglas, W. B. "Manuel Lisa" in Missouri Historical Society, Collec- 
tions (St Louis), vol. iii, 2386*; Billon, op. cit., 283; Teggart, F. J. "Notes 
Supplementary to any Edition of Lewis and Clark" in American Historical 
Association, Annual Report, 1908 (Washington, 1909), 189. The company 
was organized, October 15, 1793, and the first apportionment of trade under 
its regulations was made May 3, 1794. Douglas states that the company 
was formed May 12, 1794. 

6 Billon, op. cit., 283 ff. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1822 23 

an "enlightened person" to accompany the first expedi- 
tion, sent out in the spring of 1794. Trudeau was un- 
able to ascend the river far enough to learn much that 
was not already known, but he kept a journal of his trip 
which was the first recorded description of a long 
stretch of the river made by one who had actually as- 
cended it. 7 

Following this first attempt at exploration, Juan or 
John Evans, accompanying James Mackay, a Spanish 
subject, ascended the river to a point near the present 
Omadi, Nebraska, spent part of the winter of 1795- 
1796 in camp there and the following spring pushed 
on alone as far as the Mandan villages on a voyage of 
positive discovery. 8 Despite the admirable designs of 
the company and its genuine efforts to carry them out, 
it is probable that it offered more hindrance than incen- 
tive to the cause of discovery and exploration. 9 To be 
sure part of Trudeau's journal and Mackay's and 
Evans's maps subsequently fell into the hands of Thom- 
as Jefferson and by him were transmitted to Lewis and 
Clark for their guidance. Jefferson valued them 
highly, perhaps more highly than did Lewis and Clark, 

T The "Trudeau Journal," part iii [ii], Missouri Historical Society, Col- 
lections, vol. iv, part i; American Historical Review, vol. xix. 

8 "Havia atravezado felizmente la nacion mandana." - Teggart, op. cit. t 
192, footnote, and passim. 

9 It is not improbable that the company's interest in geography was some- 
thing of a cloak to cover a concerted effort to outstrip the British in their 
westward advance and to undermine the hold which they had secured on 
the savages. Mackay himself stated that through his hands "were distribut- 
ed, principally, the presents of merchandise necessary to secure the friend- 
ship of the Indians, and to estrange them from the influence and traffic of the 
British, Northwest, and Hudson's Bay Companies." - Teggart, op. cit., 193. 
The company took pains to establish at least three forts, one opposite the 
mouth of the Platte, another, Fort Charles, about six miles below the present 
town of Omadi, Nebraska, and a third above the mouth of the Nipbrara, on 
the left bank of the Missouri. See Perrin du Lac, Voyages dans les deux 
Louisiana (Paris, 1805), map. 

24 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

who seem to have made but slight use of either the 
journal or maps. 10 

Not only did the Compagnie du Haut du Missouri 
fail to push their discoveries and explorations beyond 
the Mandans into the real terra incognita, but, by 
monopolizing the trade, they placed a rigid check on 
the efforts of other individuals in that direction. One 
of those to feel this most keenly was Manuel Lisa, 11 who 
had come to St. Louis in the last decade of the eight- 
eenth century and who, in 1799, with several others, 
memorialized the government complaining that "the 
trade in peltries, the sole and only resource which for a 
long time has supported the commerce of this country, 
being forbidden to the greater part of the citizens, must 
necessarily, involve the ruin of the merchants" who un- 
dertook to venture into the Indian country. Lisa and 
his comrades went on to urge that the trade monopoly 
of the company be abolished and that "general freedom 
of commerce be restored." 12 Lisa's petition, however, 
was made in vain. The company continued to monopo- 
lize the trade of the upper river, while in the southwest, 
among the Osages, the Chouteau interests, which had 
been granted a monopoly for six years, effectually 
blocked all competition and consequently the prosecu- 
tion of geographic discovery in that direction. 

The United States government fell heir to the scien- 
tific designs of the Compagnie du Haut du Missouri, 
if not to its commercial policy. The transfer of Upper 
Louisiana was effected March 10, 1804, and, on May 

10 The Mackay and Evans maps have not come to light. It is the opinion 
of Teggart that Mackay's map is substantially the same as that of Perrin 
du Lac, accompanying his Voyages dans Its deux Louisianes.^ Teggart, op. 
'/., 188 ff. 

11 For a sketch of Lisa see Douglas, W. B. "Manuel Lisa" in Missouri 
Historical Society, Collections (St. Louis), vol. iii. 

12 Idem, vol. iii, 239* 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1822 25 

14, Lewis and Clark commenced their journey, arriv- 
ing at St. Louis, on their return, September 23, 1806. 
While Lewis and Clark were in camp, their first winter 
out, a number of Canadian voyageurs and Indians vis- 
ited their quarters from whom the explorers endeavored 
to obtain every shred of available information about the 
country lying between the Missouri River and the 
ocean. The data Lewis embodied in a map which was 
sent back to Washington on their departure the follow- 
ing spring. 13 A glance at this map, called the Lewis 
Map of 1806, and a comparison of it with the one of 
1810 "Copied by Samuel Lewis from the Original 
Drawing of Wm. Clark" 14 shows to how great an extent 
Lewis and Clark were actual discoverers. In the first 
place, they learned that the continent was much wider 
than had been supposed and than they had represented 
it on their map of 1806. The Columbia, instead of 
being merely a Pacific coast stream, was found to drain 
a vast interior valley or series of valleys between the 
Cordilleras and the Coast Range. Instead of one moun- 
tain system lying between the headwaters of the Mis- 
souri and the Pacific, they found two, separated from 
each other by four hundred miles and more of inter- 
vening valleys. They discovered the whole interior 
drainage of the Columbia with its two main arteries, 
fittingly named for the discoverers themselves, and their 
network of tributaries. The Missouri they found to 
head in the northwest and not in the southwest. The 
upper waters, though not the source, and many of the 
higher tributaries with those of its great affluent, the 

13 The map is printed in Science, old ser., vol. x, 222 and in Coues, His- 
tory of the Expeditions under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark 
(New York, 1893), vol. iv, pocket. 

14 The original drawings by Clark are reproduced in Thwaites, Original 
Journals of the Levris and Clark Expedition (New York, 1905), vol. viii 

26 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Yellowstone, they were the first white men to cross. 15 
The network of ridges that characterizes the Rocky 
Mountain System along the forty-fifth parallel they also 
sighted for the first time. 

With the return of Lewis and Clark, the government 
abandoned for a considerable time its support of west- 
ern discovery and exploration, leaving both to private 
enterprise which was quick to take advantage of the 
work of the pathfinders. Lewis and Clark had reached 
St. Louis, on their return, September 23, 1806. Only a 
little over six months later, the enterprising Manuel 
Lisa, whose efforts in the fur trade during the Spanish 
regime had been baffled by the Compagnie du Haut du 
Missouri, despatched an expedition up the river from 
St. Louis, the real forerunner of all subsequent fur trad- 
ing expeditions within the Upper Missouri area. Lewis 
and Clark were the trail makers, Lisa the trade maker. 
The former laid the foundation of scientific geographic 
exploration of the far West, the latter, the foundation 
of a great industry in that same region, which, profit- 
ing by the information brought out by the first explor- 
ers, in turn contributed more than any other single 
agency to the prosecution of the work of discovery be- 
gun by them. 

All Lisa's expeditions were attended by discoveries 
which one is tempted to surmise might have been ac- 
complished nearly a decade earlier but for the policy 
pursued by the Compagnie du Haut du Missouri. In 
the interval, however, Lisa had had opportunity to study 
carefully the trade and its possibilities and to observe 
that the failure of earlier ventures, including those of 

15 The lower course of the Yellowstone with its southern tributaries was 
explored by Larocque a month before Clark. Burpee, L, J. [editor], "Jour- 
nal de Larocque" in Publications des Archives Canadiennes, no. 3 (Ortowa, 
1911), 30 ff. They were also familiar to the French fur traders from St. 
Louis and perhaps also to the Spaniards from New Mexico. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to I&22 27 

the monopolistic company itself, was attributable to the 
lack of stability and permanence of occupation which 
invariably characterized their undertakings. Small 
parties only, "vagrant hunters and traders," Major 
Thomas Biddle had called them, had undertaken to 
conduct operations from merely temporary trading 
posts, always soon abandoned. Lisa determined to de- 
part from this policy altogether and instead to erect at 
suitable points along the upper river substantial forts 
or factories to serve as places of protection and perma- 
nent headquarters for the men in his employ. As a re- 
sult, Lisa's expeditions were enabled to penetrate the 
interior country to a much greater distance and, conse- 
quently, to make a number of important discoveries. 

His first expedition, in 1807, ascending the Missouri 
and the Yellowstone, erected the first fort at the mouth 
of the Big Horn, where Lisa wintered with his men, 
returning to St. Louis in the summer of i8o8. 16 Before 
his departure for the lower country, steps had been 
taken to investigate the region lying above the mouth 
of the Big Horn. John Colter, who, with George 
Drouillard and a Mr. Dickson, was of the party of 
Lewis and Clark, had already joined Lisa. 17 Cclter, 
who had assisted in the building of the fort, was de- 
spatched either in the fall of 1807 or in the spring of 
1808 to confer with the Crow Indians and probably 
with the tribes on the upper Missouri to induce them 
to bring in their furs to Lisa's posts. 18 

18 Brackenridge, H. M. Views of Louisiana (Pittsburgh, 1814), 91. 
Douglas, op. cit., vol. Hi, 255 ff. 

17 James, Thomas. Three Years among the Indians and Mexicans 
(Waterloo, 111., 1846), 23; Gass, Patrick. Journal (Philadelphia, 1810), 252; 
Douglas, op. cit., vol. iii, 251. See Thwaites, Original Journals of the Lewis 
and Clark Expedition, vol. v, 341, footnote. 

18 Brackenridge, op. cit., 91 ff. See also Chittenden, The American 
Fur Trade of the Far West, vol. ii, 714. The Americans knew little about 

28 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Alone, with a pack weighing thirty pounds, he first 
traveled southward into Absaraka, the land of the 
Crows, and thence northward with a band of these In- 
dians until, together, they met a war party of Blackfeet 
with whom hostilities ensued. In the course of this 
engagement, Colter was wounded in the leg, which pre- 
vented him from standing. Meanwhile hi* compan- 
ions had apparently abandoned him. Nothing daunted, 
however, alone and unaided, he made his way back to 
Lisa's post on the Big Horn. 18 Brigadier-general Chit- 
tenden places this engagement on the western side of 
the continental divide, in Pierre's Hole, and infers that 
it was on his return from the battle that Colter entered 
the Yellowstone National Park, discovering the natural 
wonders of that region. 20 Thomas James, however, 
specifically states that the battle took place on the Gal- 
latin River and Clark's map, bearing the legend, "Col- 
ter's route in 1807," based on information derived from 
Colter himself in 1810, nowhere places him on waters 
tributary to the Columbia. If this account is true, it is 
unlikely not only that Colter passed through the Yel- 
lowstone Park in i8o8, 21 but that he penetrated to the 
country associated a few years later with the name of 

the Crows, although Francois Larocque, of the Northwest Company, had 
visited them in the summer of 1805 and had written an interesting description 
of them, "Quelques remarques sur les sauvages Rocky Mountain avec les- 
quels j'ai passe Pete de 1805." -Burpee, L. J. [editor]. Journal de Larocque, 
59 ff- 

19 Brackenridge, op. cit., 92. James places the engagement in 1808 
and states that there were fifteen hundred Blackfeet against eight hundred 
Crows. See James, op. at., 19. 

20 Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol ii, 715. 

21 James employed Colter to guide him in the spring of 1810 from Lisa's 
fort to the Three Forks. On the way, they passed through ravines and 
mountains to the Gallatin River, which they crossed and descended passing 
the battlefield of 1808. James adds that Colter "was thoroughly familiar 
with the route, having twice escaped over it from capture and death at the 
hands of the Indians." - James, op. cit., 19. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1 822 29 

Andrew Henry and the overland Astorians. Colter 
was a man of superior courage, and his reputation does 
not suffer from the fact that, in addition to his many ad- 
ventures, he did not ascend the difficult Wind River 
range, cross Jackson's Hole, negotiate the Teton Pass, 
enter Pierre's Hole [Teton Basin], and then recross 
the continental divide to the Yellowstone. 22 Others 
who went from Lisa's fort in the spring and fall of 
1808 traversed much of the country lying between the 
Yellowstone and the Missouri, determining the general 
features of the region and the course of streams whose 
mouths alone Lewis and Clark had passed. 

In Lisa's first venture he had met opposition from the 
Chouteau interests against whom he had contended 
earlier and by whom he had been cleverly defeated in 
the Osage trade. 23 Scarcely had he left St. Louis, when 
Pierre Chouteau likewise embarked with a party of 
traders for the upper country. He got no farther than 
the Arikara villages however. There, owing perhaps 
to the machinations of Lisa himself, he was forced to 
abandon his journey, returning in high dudgeon to St. 
Louis. 24 On Lisa's return in August 1808, however, 
the rival interests were brought together. 

During Lisa's sojourn in the city, the small company 

22 This leaves the date of his crossing the Park unsettled. "Colter's 
Route in 1807" lies wholly west and north of Lake Eustis [Yellowstone]. 

23 Douglas [o/>. cit., vol. iii, 243 ff] describes the amusing ruse by which 
Pierre Chouteau nullified Lisa's long-sought permit to trade with the Osages. 

24 The character of Manuel Lisa has been painted in consistently dark 
colors. See "Letter of Nathaniel Pryor to William Clark, October 16, 1807" 
in Annals of Iowa, third ser., vol. i, 615 ff. Thomas James [Three 'Years 
among the Indians and Mexicans, 3] declared that "rascality sat on every 
feature of his dark-complexioned Mexican face, gleamed from his black 
Spanish eyes, and seemed enthroned on a forehead villainously low." John 
Bradbury, the naturalist, charged him with a breach of good faith. See 
Thwaites, Early Western Travels, vol. v, 25-26. Pike had a not very 
elevated opinion of him. 

30 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

of 1807, of which he had been the leader, was reor- 
ganized and enlarged by the admission of Pierre and 
Auguste Chouteau, Benjamin Wilkinson, of a family 
like the Chouteaus, long hostile to Lisa, Reuben Lewis, 
brother of Meriwether, William Clark, Andrew 
Henry, subsequently an associate of Ashley, and several 
others. The reorganized company was called the St. 
Louis Missouri Fur Company. Its founders sought 
by heavier capitalization and by the substitution of 
monopoly for competition to revolutionize the fur 
trade. 25 

The first expedition sent up the river by the new com- 
pany, in the spring of 1809, consistently followed Lisa's 
policy by establishing, first, a post at the Gros Ventre 
villages and, in April of the following year, pushing 
far up the river to the Three Forks, and erecting 
another fort there in the very heart of the Blackfoot 
country. 28 The same year, a Mr. Howes, an enterpris- 
ing Hudson's Bay man, established himself west of the 
Three Forks, on a small tributary of the Flathead River, 
beyond the continental divide. 27 From the Missouri 
Fur Company's post, trapping detachments began at 
once to operate in the region between the Great Falls 
and the Three Forks and up the valley of the Jefferson 
River, crossing and recrossing the route of Lewis and 
Clark. The vicinity of the Three Forks was danger- 
ous country for any white man. The implacable Black- 

25 Lisa's capital in 1807 is said to have been sixteen thousand dollars 
[Billon, F. L. Annals of St. Louis in its Territorial Days (St. Louis, 1888), 
32] ; that of the Missouri Fur Company in 1809, forty thousand dollars. 
Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 140. 

26 James, op. cit., to, 22. A detailed account of this expedition is given 
by James, who accompanied it. 

27 Ross, Alexander. Fur Hunters of the Far West, vol. ii, 9. Elliott, 
T. C. [editor]. "Journal of Alexander Ross, 1824" in the Oregon Historical 
Society, Quarterly, vol. xiv, 371. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1 822 31 

feet were given to picking off detached hunters at the 
most unexpected moments. It became utterly out of 
the question for the men to venture from the post unless 
they went in groups so large that their efficiency as 
hunters and trappers was impaired. George Drouil- 
lard, a man of unusual astuteness in dealing with In- 
dians, was instantly shot one morning on venturing out 
alone. 28 The effect of this danger on the employees be- 
came daily more noticeable. The swiftness and sud- 
denness of the Blackfoot attack had such an air of mys- 
tery, was so incapable of being side-stepped by ordinary 
human precaution, that the employees, once they had 
felt the terror of it, declined even to leave the protec- 
tion of the fort. 29 Many of the Americans including 
Thomas James, the chronicler of the expedition resolved 
to return to the settlements. The fort was accordingly 
abandoned, and a prolonged check given to geographic 
investigation within the country lying between the Bit- 
ter Root and Flathead Mountains. 

With the abandonment of the post, however, Andrew 
Henry with a small party proceeded up the Madison 
fork of the Missouri, crossed the continental divide, the 
first Americans since Lewis and Clark, and, discover- 
ing the northern branch of Snake River, which now 
bears his name, followed that stream south to a sheltered 
valley, where he built the first American trading post 
on the Pacific slope of the Cordilleras. Here he was 
in a country hitherto unvisited by whites. To him is 
to be credited the discovery of the headwaters of the 
Lewis fork of the Columbia and of the radiating valleys 

28 James, op. cit., 32 ff. Compare, however, Menard to Chouteau in 
Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 143 ; vol. iii, 894. / 

29 Letter of Pierre Menard to Pierre Chouteau, April 21, 1810, in Chit- 
tenden, American Fur Trade, vol. iii, 893 ff. See James, op. cit., 30 ff.; 
Brackenridge, op. cit., 92 ff. 

32 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

that encircle its upper reaches. Henry and his men 
spent the winter at his post with indifferent success and 
in the spring abandoned the fort, some striking out for 
the Spanish country, others turning east, while Henry 
himself, with a handful of men, returned to the lower 
country by way of the Missouri. 80 

Thus the first efforts to operate beyond the Rockies 
were abandoned. From now on, too, the Missouri Fur 
Company, declining in importance, drops out of sight 
as an agent of discovery. The partners had abandoned 
their fort at the Three Forks, in the summer of 1810, 
and, in the course of the same year, or the following, 
their post at the mouth of the Big Horn as well. Their 
storehouses, located probably on Cedar Island near 
Chamberlain, South Dakota, were also unfortunately 
burned. Henry, moreover, had met with very indif- 
ferent success beyond the mountains, securing only forty 
packs of fur, so that altogether the outlook of the com- 
pany was dark. Reorganizations were effected in 1812, 
1814, 1817, and 1819, but, for a time, the trade was 
largely restricted to the country below the Mandans. 
By 1819, the situation had somewhat improved, and, 
following the reorganization of that year, which ad- 
mitted many new members to the company, including 
Joshua Pilcher, Andrew Drips, and Robert Jones, the 
company began to regain its hold on the upper country. 
The next year Lisa died, and his place was taken by 
Joshua Pilcher, who proceeded to develop Lisa's pro- 
ject by establishing another post at the mouth of the 
Big Horn and by undertaking to prosecute the trade 
even among the Blackfeet again. This last effort ter- 
minated in a crushing defeat in 1823, and the gradual 
shifting of the company's operations from the Upper 

30 Brackenridge, op. cit., 233. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1822 33 

Missouri to the lower river again and eventually to the 
Great Salt Lake region. 31 

The Missouri Fur Company had felt the pressure of 
competition on all sides but most keenly from the Pa- 
cific Fur Company representing the Astor interests. 
This company's overland expedition of 1811 to the 
mouth of the Columbia, headed by Wilson P. Hunt re- 
entered the field just abandoned by Andrew Henry and 
contributed many details to the geographic knowledge 
of the southern Columbia basin. Three of Henry's 
men, in fact, accompanied the expedition, John Ho- 
back, Edward Robinson, and Jacob Rezner. They had 
joined it in the spring of 1811, on its way up the Mis- 
souri. On reaching the Arikara villages, June 12, 1 8 1 1 , 
the company proceeded almost due west into the large- 
ly unexplored country between the Missouri and the 
Big Horn, crossing the Grand, Moreau, Big Cheyenne, 
and Belle Fourche Rivers. Some of the earliest trap- 
pers had ventured up these tributaries of the Missouri 
a considerable distance, and nearly seventy years earlier 
La Verendrye had pushed westward into this same 
area. 32 From the Yellowstone, too, Lisa's traders had 
penetrated eastward into the great plains of southern 
Montana and northern Wyoming, visiting an isolated 
valley here and there. Edward Rose, the interpreter 
with the expedition, was also, no doubt, familiar with 
the Crow country through which they passed after 
rounding the Black Hills and crossing the streams be- 
tween Grand River and the Popo Agie. Continuing 
westward, they sighted the Wind River Mountains, Au- 

31 For a discussion of the later history of the Missouri Fur Company and 
its contributions to geography see Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 
145 ff. and Douglas, op. cit., vol. iii, 367 ff. 

32 See maps, nos. 1-4, in Thwaites, Original Journals of the Lewis and 
Clark Expedition, vol. viii (Atlas). 

34 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

gust 17, and two weeks later, camped at their foot. 
Here Rose left them, preferring to remain with his 
adopted people, the Crows. 

From this point, the Astorians traversed, for a con- 
siderable stretch, an entirely unvisited country. Colter 
and others of Lisa's men had penetrated far to the south, 
perhaps into the Wind River Valley itself, but none 
had crossed this lofty mountain barrier to the west. 
Pushing up Wind River, they reached the continental 
divide September 15. The next day was occupied with 
crossing the range, apparently in the neighborhood of 
Union Pass, and the next, they encamped at evening on 
Green River well towards its source. This stream was 
known soon after, if not already, as Spanish River. 83 
From the summit of the pass, Hoback, Robinson, and 
Rezner had caught a glimpse of the Tetons, familiar 
landmarks, reminiscent of the long winter at Henry's 
post beyond. Crossing the low divide between Green 
River and the south fork of the Snake, in the vicinity 
of Bondurant, they followed down Hoback River to its 
confluence with the Snake, where they arrived, Sep- 
tember 26, 1811. Leaving four men here, Hunt, on 
the advice of the three Henry men, pushed across Snake 
River and the Teton Pass to Henry's abandoned post, 
arriving there October 8, 1811. Four more trappers 
were detached here to operate in this country. 

From this point, having left their horses, the main 

33 Brackenridge, op. cit. Appendix, 298-300. Irving, Washington. As- 
toria (Philadelphia, 1841), vol. i, 280, vol. ii, 159. The following entry 
occurs in the books of the Missouri Fur Company, printed in Missouri His- 
torical Society, Collections (St. Louis), vol. iv, 197, "1812, jbre 7. Pour 
serche les Chasseurs qui etet sur la Rre. des Espagnols et Arapaos." W. B. 
Douglas, in a summary of the evidence covering the wanderings of Ezekiel 
Williams, is inclined to believe that this refers to Williams and his com- 
panions who started south from Lisa's fort on the Bighorn in 1810, 1811, 
or 1812. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1822 35 

body proceeded down Snake River in canoes on a voy- 
age of positive discovery until disaster overtook them at 
Caldron Liqn. Here a division was effected, a portion 
of the men under McKenzie striking north over the 
desert, only to return to the river, to abandon it again, 
and finally to cross the Blue Mountains to the Clear- 
water, where they touched the route of Lewis and 
Clark. This stream they followed to its confluence 
with the Snake, down the Snake to the Columbia, and 
so to Astoria, where they were joined a month later by 
another division of the party, under Hunt, which had 
followed the main stream of the Snake. A third di- 
vision, accompanied by Ramsay Crooks and John Day, 
did not arrive until May. Thus the entire length of 
the great Lewis fork of the Columbia had been coursed, 
the upper stretches by Henry in 1810-1811, and the 
lower portions by the overland Astorians, the following 
year. Furthermore, a new crossing of the continental 
divide had been found, though a difficult one, over the 
Union pass, across Jackson's Hole, and over the Tetons. 
So far as is known, the Astorians were likewise the first 
Americans to visit Green River, though "Colter's Route, 
1807" on the Lewis and Clark map, in crossing three 
upper tributaries of a stream named Rio del Norte, one 
of which is legended "Colter's R.," may indicate that 
he, too, had reached the upper waters of this stream. 34 

34 It is dangerous to attempt to establish a definite itinerary for Colter 
from the Lewis and Clark map, as the most that can be said about his route 
is that he never believed he reached streams flowing into the Columbia, that 
he passed to the west of a lake [Biddle] - rather appropriately called Lake 
Riddle on some of the later maps -"which he believed to be the source of the 
Big Horn and therefore an Atlantic water, and that he passed to the west 
and north of another lake [Eustis], which he believed to be the source of the 
Yellowstone. Some of the companions of Ezekiel Williams, the hero of 
Coyner's Lost Trappers, may have been on Green River in 1810 or even a 
year earlier. See "Letter of Ezekiel Williams" in Missouri Historical So- 
ciety, Collections, vol. iv, 203. The entire evidence for Williams's wander- 

36 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

The geographic discoveries of the Astorians did not 
end here. On June 29 or 30, 1812, a party, ostensibly 
under command of Robert Stuart, carrying with them 
letters and papers for Colonel Astor, set out from As- 

ings, which is very confusing, is printed in Missouri Historical Society, Col- 
lections, vol. iv. Edward Rose, Hunt's guide, had been one of Williams's 
companions. Williams states that he went with a detachment of the Mis- 
souri Fur Company to the mountains in 1810, where he hunted, apparently 
in their employ, for two years, that in August, 1812, he started south through 
the Crow country with nearly twenty men, all operating independently, that 
after forty or fifty days, they struck the Arkansas, where they wintered, and 
that the next June [1813], having assembled on the head-waters of the 
Platte, eight or ten of them crossed the Rocky Mountains, while Williams, 
continuing south, spent another year among the Indians, reaching Arrow 
Rock on the Missouri River, after prolonged wanderings in the spring of 
1814. The statement is incorrect as to date for according to David H. Coy- 
ner [The L<.st Trappers (Cincinnati, 1859), 90], Edward Rose, who was 
with the expedition, abandoned it on reaching the Crow country, preferring 
to remain with the savages. As he joined Hunt's party in the spring of 
1811, it, of course, precludes the possibility of Williams's expedition having 
left Lisa's fort in August, 1812. It is specifically stated, furthermore, by 
George Sibley, a trustworthy gentleman, that Williams reached Arrow Rock 
on his return to civilization in the summer of 1813. Coyner, however, 
states that Williams went up the Missouri in 1807 with the expedition 
which conducted the Mandan chief, Shehaka, and implies that he start- 
ed south the same year. See Coyner, op. '/., 19, 86, 87. Coyner's dates 
are erroneous for the expedition of 1807, commanded by Ensign Pryor, 
conducting Shehaka, never reached the Mandans, although Coyner de- 
scribes with much circumstantial detail the reception accorded that long 
absent savage. He does not definitely state the length of time that Wil- 
liams was absent but implies that he reached Arrow Rock in the sec- 
ond winter after his departure, i.e. 1809-1810, which is manifestly incor- 
rect. Williams post-dates his adventures; Coyner ante-dates them. The 
most reasonable assumption is that Williams and Rose went up the river in 
1809 with Lisa's party, although he is not mentioned by James, and that the 
following year, 1810, he turned south in company with Rose, who was left 
in the Crow country, to be picked up by Hunt the next spring, and that in 
June, r8n, a portion of his company set out for the Spanish country. If 
they reached Green River, as seems likely, they would in this case have ante- 
dated the Astorians by three months or so. The two divisions of Henry's 
men who separated from him in the early spring of 1811 and of whom 
nothing further is known, may also have reached Green River. One of the 
divisions, it is certain, started for the Spanish country. "Sometime after this 
[1809-1810] a party of hunters south of the Yellowstone were taken pris- 
oners by the Spaniards and carried into Santa Fe." United States American 
State Papers, Indian Affairs (Washington, 1834), vol. ii, 451. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1822 37 

toria to return overland to the states. Stuart was ac- 
companied by Ramsay Crooks, Robert McClellan, and 
four others. Following up the Columbia and the 
Snake, familiar country to them all, they encountered, 
on the twentieth of August, below Caldron Linn, the 
party of four, Miller, Hoback, Robinson, and Rezner, 
who had been detached at Henry's fort the preceding 
October. 35 These men stated that they had traveled 
south about two hundred miles and had trapped on a 
river, which, according to their account, discharged in- 
to the ocean but at a point south of the Columbia. 
Washington Irving understood by this description, 
Bear River and the Great Salt Lake. Their account 
of their wanderings, however, was most incoherent. 
After hunting on this river, they had preceded due east, 
they said, for two hundred miles, when they had en- 
countered sixty lodges of Arapahos, who had robbed 
them. They then wandered fifty miles further and 
halted for the winter. In the spring, they again wan- 
dered on foot "several hundred miles," traversing bar- 
ren wastes until they were discovered by Stuart and his 
party. 36 Vague as is their narrative, it seems likely 
that they were the first to penetrate the Interior Basin 
from the north. 
They then joined Stuart and his party but, a few days 

88 The other four men left at the mouth of Hoback, October i, 1811, had 
trapped in that country, and had perhaps ventured some distance down the 
canyon of the Snake. In the spring they had turned north and west through 
Jackson's Hole and over the Teton Pass, following Henry's route to the 
headwaters of the Missouri. On their way, they had been attacked by the 
Crows and one of their number slain. The remainder then made their way 
to the lower Snake country, where they were picked up by Reed in the sum- 
mer of 1812. Irving, Washington. Astoria, vol. ii, 196. Ross, Alexander. 
Oregon Settlers, in Thwaites, Early Western Travels, vol. vii, 215. Chitten- 
den, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 206. They made no discoveries of conse- 

86 Irving, W. Astoria, vol. ii, 128 ff. 

38 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

later, all but Miller abandoned them again. Miller 
undertook to guide Stuart's party, but his services did 
not prove valuable. Under his direction, they followed 
the Snake some distance until they reached a country 
of great sandy plains. On September 7, they aban- 
doned the Snake and, still under Miller's guidance, 
wandered in a vague fashion until they reached a river 
to which they gave his name. 37 This stream they as- 
cended until September 12. They then turned east 
over a range of hills, 38 and then north up a large branch 
of Miller's River which came in from the north. 89 
Along this they traveled, the first day, twenty-five miles, 
and the next, twenty-one miles, encamping on the mar- 
gin of a stream flowing north.* Two days more 
brought them to a stream "running due north, which 
they concluded to be one of the upper branches of 
Snake river." 41 This stream they descended a distance 
of ninety-one miles." 

They then abandoned the river and struck northeast 
across the Teton Range, fording several streams, in- 
cluding the left fork of the Snake, and, bending their 
course constantly to the east and southeast, finally, on 
October 11, found themselves "encamped on a small 
stream near the foot of the Spanish River Mountain." 43 

37 Bear River according to Irving [Astoria, vol. ii, 134] and, with a query, 
according to Elliott Coues [New Light on the Great Northwest, the Henry- 
Thompson Journals (New York, 1897), vol. ii, 884, footnote], 

88 Preuss Range [?]. 

39 Smith's fork or Thomas fork according to Coues [Ne<iv Light on the 
Great Northwest, vol. ii, 884, footnote']. 

40 Salt River. Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 209. Irving, 
Astoria, vol. ii, 138. 

41 Irving, Astoria, vol. ii, 137. 

42 Coues, New Light on the Great Northwest, vol. ii, 884, footnote. One 
hundred ten miles, according to Chittenden [American Fur Trade, vol. i, 

48 Irving, Astoria, vol. ii, 153. The southern spur of the Grosventre 
Range near the sources of Green River. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1822 39 

They crossed the mountain on the twelfth, reaching a 
stream one hundred sixty yards wide. 44 On the sev- 
enteenth, they passed two large tributaries of this 
stream rising in the Wind River Mountains, and, on 
the eighteenth, a third tributary. 45 On the nineteenth 
and twentieth they continued their course, striking a 
large Indian trail running southeast, which they had 
crossed on the fifteenth. 46 

Continuing in a generally southeasterly direction, 
they followed this trail the remainder of the nineteenth 
and part of the twentieth, but, when they found it turn- 
ing northeast, abandoned it, continuing their own way 
southeast. Next day, the twenty-first, however, they 
turned north northeast, striking the trail again. That 
day, they made fifteen miles ; on the twenty-second, they 
made only eight, but they crossed a divide. The twen- 
ty-third, they reached a stream running south southeast, 
which they concluded could not, however, be a tribu- 
tary of the Missouri. 47 They then turned due east all 
that day and on the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth. 
The next day, an easterly and northeasterly course 
brought them to the Sweetwater. 

Elliott Coues, in his edition of the Henry-Thompson 
journals, 48 concluded that "the pass they made can be 
no other than the famous South Pass of the Rocky 
mountains." In his review of a new edition of Irving's 
Astoria, 1897, however, he concluded that they fol- 
lowed a course "very near South Pass -perhaps within 
twelve or fifteen miles of it, where they wandered off 

44 Green River. Coues, New Light on Great Northwest, vol. ii, 284, 
footnote. Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 210. 

45 Sandy River [?]. Irving, Astoria, vol. ii, 159. 

46 "Probably the regular highway down Green river valley," - Chitten- 
den, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 210. 

, 47 Irving, Astoria, vol. ii, 165. 
48 Coues, New Light on the Great Northwest, vol. ii, 884, footnote. 

40 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

the Indian trail which would have taken them through 
this pass, and kept about south-east till they had headed 
the Sweetwater entirely. Then they struck east, south 
of that river, and finally fell on it lower down." 49 A 
recently discovered letter of Ramsay Crooks, himself, 
however, specifically states that the company came 
through the South Pass. 50 

The next expedition to cross the continental divide 
by or near this pass was one of Ashley's detachments a 
dozen years later. 

The beginning of British expansion in the northwest 
is associated with the name of David Thompson. A 
skilled astronomer and mathematician, educated in Lon- 
don, he had journeyed, in the summer of 1795, from 
Hudson Bay to Lake Athabasca in the service of the 
Hudson's Bay Company. Anxious to undertake fur- 
ther exploration, he pressed the company's agent at 
Fort York for another commission, but in vain. Find- 
ing himself out of employment, he hastened to present 
himself at the summer rendezvous of the Northwest 
traders at Grand Portage. Having made known his 
qualifications, he was immediately appointed astron- 
omer and surveyor to the company, and, in that capac- 
ity, journeyed to Lake Winnipeg, up the Saskatche- 
wan to Lake Winnipegoosis, north to Swan River, and 
subsequently to the Assiniboin with a side trip to the 
Mandan Indians on the Missouri. 

After the union of the Northwest Company with the 
->_&o-called X. Y. Company in 1805, it became necessary 

49 This change of view he was induced to make after a discussion of the 
problem with Brigadier-general Chittenden. Coues, E. Forty Years a Fur 
Trader (New York, 1898), 29, footnote. 

50 For this letter and a discussion of the problem see Dale, "Did the Re- 
^ turning Astorians use the South Pass?" in Oregon Historical Society, Quar- 
terly, vol. xvii. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1 822 41 

to extend careful surveys into the great unknown be- 
yond the Rocky Mountains. Thompson, accordingly, 
was selected to go up the Saskatchewan, explore the 
Columbia River, and examine the vast sea of mountains 
bordering on the Pacific. He crossed the Rockies, in 
1806, discovering the upper reaches of the Columbia, 
where the next year he erected a post called Kootenai 
House. Here he wintered, 1807-1808 and again 1808- 
1809. In 1809, determining to extend his operations 
down the Columbia River, he pushed a short distance 
across the present international boundary. 

Two years later, he descended the Columbia, being 
the first white man to follow that stream as far as the 
confluence of Lewis's fork with Clark's fork, from 
which point Lewis and Clark had, of course, preceded 
him to the sea. Continuing down the Columbia, he 
reached Astoria, where he found the Americans in- 
stalled. Thus was discovered the upper courses of the 
Columbia and the adjacent country in eastern Wash- 
ington. What Andrew Henry and the overland As- 
to'rians accomplished in the way of discovery along 
Lewis's fork, Thompson accomplished along Clark's 
fork. The course and main valleys of the two great 
arteries were thus determined. East of the Rockies, 
Lewis and Clark and the Missouri Fur Company car- 
ried discovery nearly to the forty-ninth parallel; and 
now, west of the mountains, the British, operating 
southward, penetrated to the Columbia. Only the in- 
tervening mountain region, the home of the Blackfeet, 
still baffled the whites. 

Following the cession of Astoria and the erection of 
posts at Oakanagan, Spokane, and among the Flatheads, 
the British company not only filled in the details of dis- 
covery but, through its so-called Snake country expedi- 

42 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

tions widely extended geographic knowledge in that 
region which had been first sighted by the Astorians. 
For five years, to be sure, the Northwest Company 
made no systematic effort to operate in the valley of 
Snake River or in the country of the Snake Indians to 
the south. But in 1816, it was proposed to extend oper- 
ations "on the south and west toward California and the 
mountains, embracing a new and unexplored tract of 
country." 81 

A new method of conducting the business, however, 
very similar to that adopted later by Ashley, had first 
to be devised in order safely to operate in so remote a 
region. "To obviate the necessity of establishing trad- 
ing posts, or permanent dwellings, among so many war- 
like and refractory nations, formidable trapping parties 
were, under chosen leaders, to range the country for 
furs; and the resources thus to be collected were an- 
nually to be conveyed to the mouth of the Columbia, 
there to be shipped for the Canton market." In 
other words, these Snake country expeditions, as they 
were subsequently called, were to be self-supporting 
during the period of their absence, which would fre- 
quently extend from six to nine months. They were to 
have no permanent base with which they might con- 
stantly keep in touch. To command such expeditions 
men of rare ability were needed. They were found in 
Donald M'Kenzie, Alexander Ross, John Work, and 
Peter Skene Ogden. 

The first of these expeditions under Donald M'Ken- 
zie, who had accompanied the overland Astorians, op- 
erated only as far as the Cascades of the Columbia and, 
accordingly, contributed nothing to geographic know- 

51 Ross, Alexander. Fur Hunters of the Far West, vol. i, 73. 
62 Idem. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1822 43 

ledge. In 1818, however, a post was erected near the 
confluence of Clark's and Lewis's forks, called Fort 
Nez Perce [Walla-Walla] from which the first Snake 
expedition, accurately so-called, set out in September. 
Part of this expedition, under the command of M'Ken- 
zie himself, journeyed up the Snake River twenty-five 
days, until they found themselves in a rich beaver coun- 
try lying between Snake River and the "Spanish 
waters," where the Indians were inclined to be hostile. 53 
Leaving his people in this region, M'Kenzie took a cir- 
cuitous route along the foot of the mountains, through 
an extremely dreary country, until he reached the head- 
waters of the great south branch [Snake River], re- 
gretting every step that he had been so long denied such 
a resourceful country. From the headwaters of the 
Snake, he followed a course down that stream, sighting 
many points with which his expedition of 1811 as an 
Astorian had familiarized him. 

In 1819, he accompanied a second Snake country ex- 
pedition. Leaving a part of the men to winter near the 
river and to operate on its tributaries, M'Kenzie deter- 
mined "should the natives prove peaceably inclined and 
the trapping get on smoothly among them, to spend 
part of the winter in examining the country further 
south. He was likewise anxious to have an interview 
with the principal chiefs of the Snake nation, not hav- 
ing hitherto seen them." 54 Keeping his resolve, he set 
out to the south on a journey of positive discovery and 
had gone only five days when he fell in with the main 
body of the Snake nation accompanied by two of their 

88 Ross, Fur Hunters, vol. i, 200 ff. The expedition, therefore, ventured 
into the country traversed by the detached Astorians of 1811 and the east- 
bound Astorians of 1812, probably in the valley of Bear River along its 
course through southern Idaho. 

54 Idem, vol. i, 227. 

44 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

chiefs. 58 Just where he encountered them is uncertain, 
but in the course of his journey he had occasion to write 
to Alexander Ross, dating his letter "Black Bears Lake, 
Sept. 10, iSip," 56 which presumably indicates that he 
traveled up Bear River at least as far as Bear Lake, a 
journey which would take him farther south in this sec- 
tion of the Interior Basin than any white man hereto- 

In describing the country he had traversed, he wrote, 
"South of Lewis River, at the Black Feet Lake, this arti- 
cle [salt] is very abundant, and some of it is six inches 
thick, with a strong crust on the surface. Near the 
same lake, our people found a small rivulet of sulphur- 
ous water bubbling out from the base of a perpendicu- 
lar rock more than three hundred feet in height. It 
was dark blue and tasted like gun-powder." "Black. 
Feet Lake" probably refers to one of the small lakes, 
the sources of Blackfoot River, Bannock County, Ida- 
ho, where sulphur springs and salt deposits abound. 58 

The Snake country expeditions of 1820-1821, under 
M'Kenzie, and that of 1823, under Finan M'Donald, 
his successor, were confined to areas already familiar. 59 

55 Ross, Fur Hunters, vol. i, 248. 

56 Idem, vol. i, 227. 

87 The returning Astorians abandoned Bear River probably twenty miles 
north of Bear Lake, crossing the mountains between Georgetown and Mont- 
pelier, Idaho, and may, accordingly, have never seen Bear Lake. The Bear 
Lake country was familiar five years later to the Snake country men, al- 
though no other of their expeditions in the interior is known to have pene- 
trated so far south. In 1824, the Snake party of that year had reached a 
point on Salmon River, Idaho, where it was necessary to adopt one of two 
routes. "I then told them that the country to our left, or southwest, would 
lead us along the foot of the Rocky Mountains to Henry's fork, and crossing 
there Lewis's River, or the main south branch, we might proceed by the 
Blackfeet River to the Buffalo Snakes, the Sherrydikas, and Bear's Lake, 
where the country <was already known" - Ross, Fur Hunters, vol. ii, 63. 

68 It is strange that the name Blackfeet should be applied south of Snake 
River. * 

69 Ross, Fur Hunters, vol. 5, 276-280; vol. ii, 2-5. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1822 45 

In February, 1824, however, Alexander Ross, the new 
commander, left Flathead House on a more extended 
tour. Proceeding south and a little east the party 
headed straight for the Missouri Valley into the dan- 
gerous and, as yet, little known Blackfoot country till 
they struck the trail of Lewis and Clark in the valley 
of the Bitterroot. Ross followed their course as far as 
the Lemhi River in Idaho, though to him the country 
was unfamiliar. 60 From this point he and his men pro- 
ceeded to Salmon River, and then southwest into a 
"country that was in many places unknown to the 
whites." 61 They trapped along the upper tributaries 
of Salmon River until the sixteenth of June, when a 
detachment was sent eastward to the Three Buttes, 62 the 
appointed rendezvous, to meet a party of Iroquois 
hunters that had been despatched earlier in the season 
to trap the country lying east. They encountered in- 
stead a gang of Blackfeet and returned without the 
trappers. 63 On the fourteenth of October, however, 
the Iroquois themselves came into camp pillaged and 
destitute. With them "arrived seven American trap- 
pers from the Big Horn River, but whom," says Ross, 
"I rather take to be spies than trappers. There is a 
leading person with them." 64 This leading person was 
Jedediah Smith. 65 As the season was advanced, Alex- 
ander Ross with his own party and the Americans now 
returned to Flathead House where he met Peter Skene 
Ogdln, his successor. 

60 Ross, Fur Hunters, vol. ii, 13; Ross, Alexander. "J ourna ^ f Ac Snake 
River Expedition, 1824" in Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xiv, 
3 6 9 ff. 

61 Ross, Alexander. Fur Hunters of the Far West, vol. ii, 63 ff. 

62 Misnamed by Ross the Trois Tetons. Idem, vol. ii, 124. See also 
Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xiv, 382, footnote. 

63 Ross, Fur Hunters, vol. ii, 127. 

64 Ross, Alexander. "J ourna l of the Snake River Expedition, 1824," in 
Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xiv, 385. 

65 See page 96. 

46 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

The next five Snake country expeditions were under 
Ogden's command. Much interest centers about the 
first of these as the one on which Ogden is alleged to 
have "penetrated to the northerly borders of Great Salt 
Lake and the river and valley named in his honor." 
No journal has come to light for his first expedition, 
but as none of the Snake expeditions before Ogden took 
command or the first three of those which he conducted 
after 1824-1825 penetrated so far south, the prima facie 
evidence is against his having reached Great Salt Lake 
in 1824-1825. Ogden's journal of 1828-1829, more- 
over, offers positive evidence against such a discovery 
as early as that year. In December, 1828, he crossed 
the divide separating Snake River from the Interior 
Basin, guided by a Snake Indian, who informed him, 
(implying that he was unaware of the fact) that they 
"were near the Utas country not far distant from Salt 
Lake." 67 Ogden at this point recorded in his journal, 
"I am fully aware we shall find nothing but salt water 
not palatable in our starving state." On the twenty- 
sixth of December, Ogden and his men had a distant 
view of the Great Salt Lake. On the twenty-eighth he 
wrote, "Here we are at the end of Great Salt Lake, hav- 
ing this season explored one half of the north side of it, 

69 T. C. Elliott states that "in all probability" he reached the Great Salt 
Lake [Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. x, 332], but changes this 
[Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 358] to "possibly." Elliott 
based his first conclusion on an entry in Ogden's journal of 1826 under date, 
June 2, in which Ogden records meeting a Snake Indian whom he had seen 
the previous year on Bear's River. See Oregon Historical Society, Quarter- 
ly, vol. x, 361. From this Elliott assumed that Ogden had also visited the 
Great Salt Lake into which Bear River flows. It is probable, however, that 
Ogden had struck Bear River along its upper stretches where it is flowing 
south since this portion of the stream was more familiar to the Snake coun- 
try men. In editing the Ogden journals of 1827-1828 and 1828-1829, Elliott, 
puzzled by the fact that Ogden makes no mention of a previous visit to the 
Great Salt Lake, altered his "probably" to "possibly." 

67 Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 388. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1 822 47 

and can safely assert, as the Americans have of the 
south side, that it is a barren country destitute of every- 

On the fifth of January he reached a stream, prob- 
ably Malade River, of which he wrote, "I cannot ascer- 
tain if this stream discharge in Salt Lake or in Bear 
River," a matter about which he would have been un- 
likely to be in doubt had he ever visited the Great Salt 
Lake. Ogden then crossed the divide to Portneuf Riv- 
er, obtaining from the summit another glimpse of the 
Great Salt Lake. It had been his intention to cross to 
Bear River, but a break in his journal from January 17 
to March 29, 1829, leaves his movements uncertain. At 
the end of March he turned west again and, on the 
thirtieth, obtained "a good view of the Great Salt Lake 
and Mountain Island prom, point, which from its snow 
must be very high." 68 None of these entries indicates 
any familiarity with this country on Ogden's part. 
There are no recollections of points seen or visited be- 
fore. The entries in his journal are, without excep- 
tion, those of a man describing a country he was visiting 
for the first time. Ogden knew of the existence of the 
Great Salt Lake as early as 1826 and it is not unlikely 
that he with Ross and M'Kenzie before him had heard 
of it even earlier. That he or they had visited it, how- 
ever, seems highly improbable. 

The Snake country expeditions of 1825-1826 carried 
Ogden from Fort Nez Perce westward along the Co- 
lumbia to the Deschutes [Ogden's River of the Falls] 
and up this stream, through an untraversed country, to 
the headwaters of its eastern fork in Crook County, 
Oregon. From this point he and his men crossed to the 
sources of John Day's River, also hitherto unvisited. 

68 Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 392. 

The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

They then proceeded to Burnt River, which they fol- 
lowed to its confluence with the Columbia, and so up 
the Snake, following first one bank and then the other 
as far as the Portneuf, where they were surprised by the 
arrival of twenty-eight whites, mostly Americans, with 
some Hudson's Bay Company deserters of the previous 
year. Ogden bought all their furs at a reasonable rate, 
receiving from the latter over four hundred dollars 
[eighty-one pounds twenty shillings] in payment of 
their debt to the Company and three notes to cover the 
remainder. 69 Ogden and his men then turned back 
down Snake River, trapping Raft River on their way, 
until, about the middle of July, they reached Fort Van- 
couver. 70 

The expedition of 1826-1827 took Ogden into still 
remoter regions. Departing from Fort Vancouver, 
September 12, 1826, he proceeded as before to Des- 
chutes River, thence to Crooked River and the head- 
waters of John Day's. A detachment was sent to Syl- 
vaille's River and the Malheur and Harney Lake coun- 
try of southern Oregon. Thither Ogden with the main 
party journeyed and then proceeded westward in the 
direction of the "Clam miitte" (sic) country. 71 Cross- 
ing the headwaters of the Deschutes, they found them- 
selves in a familiar region, 72 and then turning south to 

69 Ogden, P. S. "Journal, 1825-1826," entry of April 10, 1826, Oregon 
Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. x, 359 ff. 

70 For Ogden's journal of the expedition see idem, vol. x, 331-365. 
"Klamath. See Ogden, P. S. "Journal, 1826-1827," entry of November 

5, 1826, in idem, vol. xi, 209. 

72 Ogden enters in his Journal, November 18, 1826, "Reached the River of 
the Falls, so desired by us all. Thank God. The road to the Clammitte we 
all know." - Idem, vol. xi, 210. Finan McDonald had trapped in the Klamath 
country the previous year in company with Thomas McKay, though only on 
the headwaters of that stream above Klamath Lake. See idem, vol. xi, 211. 
"From McDonald," says Elliott, "must have come the first report of a name 
of the Indians of that quarter, either a French-Canadian rendition of the 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1 822 49 

the headwaters of the Klamath, probably reached Wil- 
liamson River somewhere east of Crater Lake. 

Ogden's unfamiliarity with this portion of the coun- 
try is evidenced by the following entry, "The waters of 
the Clammitte do not discharge in the Columbia and 
must discharge in some river to the ocean. It is from 
this river I have hopes of beaver." 73 Continuing south 
they reached Klamath River Lake passing "the camps 
from wh. Mr. McDonald turned back last year and are 
consequently strangers to the country in advance." 7 * 
They did not proceed far, however, for beaver were 
scarce. Wintering among the Shasta Indians, they re- 
sumed their southerly course in the spring, reaching a 
stream having "no connection with the Clammitte Riv- 
er," but flowing "south then west to a large river." 75 
The Indians knew nothing of the ocean beyond, but, 
from an advance party sent ahead, Ogden learned that 
the Klamath, itself, took a westerly course and that 
below the forks it was a river of considerable volume. 76 
One detachment actually reached a point only four 
days' journey from the sea. 77 Thomas McKay was 
despatched beyond the Klamath to trap its southern 
and eastern tributaries, 78 while Ogden turned north- 
west to the northern branches of Rogue River. Here 
his guide "went to visit the Indians and returned with 

native name or a French name assigned by the trappers because of local 
conditions." - Idem, vol. xi, 202. Elliott suggests Klamath ["Tlamath," 
Rogers and Fremont] from the French Glair-metis, light mist or cloud. 

73 Ogden, P. S. "Journal, 1826-1827," entry of November 27, 1826, in 
idem, vol. xi, 210. 

74 Entry of December 5, 1826, in idem, vol. xi, 211. 

75 Pitt River [?], but Ogden states that he strikes it by going west. En- 
try of February 10, 1827 in idem, vol. xi, 213. 

7 9 Entry of February 12, 1827, in idem, vol. xi, 213 ff. 

77 Entry of February 21, 1827, in idem, vol. xi, 215. 

78 Entry of March i, 1827. He did not proceed far, however. See idem, 
vol. xi, 217. 

50 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

the information the Umpqua chief with the trappers 
from Williamettee (sic) has visited this region and 
taken all the beaver." Soon after McKay's return 
from the Klamath, it was designed to send him "to 
explore the sources of the Williamettee, wh. to this 
day have not been discovered," 79 but this plan was 
changed. The whole party then turned east into the 
difficult and, for the most part, untrodden country com- 
prising the southern tier of Oregon counties until they 
reached Snake River and so down to Fort Vancouver. 80 
The expedition of 1827-1828 left Fort Vancouver in 
August and confined itself to a region already frequent- 
ly trapped, the valley of the Snake River, itself. 81 In 
the course of the winter, which was spent near the 
Portneuf, the camp was visited by a party of Americans 
in the employ of Smith, Jackson, and Sublette. By 
the middle of July, Ogden was back at Fort Vancouver 
where presumably he was still sojourning when Jede- 
diah Smith arrived the following month. 82 The ex- 
pedition of 1828-1829 took Ogden into an unvisited 
country lying north and west of the Great Salt Lake 
and the valley of the Humboldt. 83 The latter part of 
the journey carried him into California again as far as 
the country of the Modocs. Here he saw rifles, am- 
munition, and arms which he believed to be part of the 
plunder of Jedediah Smith's party of the previous 
year. 84 Ogden then returned in the early summer to 
Fort Nez Perce. 

79 Entry of May 13, 1827, in idem, vol. xi, 218. 

80 Ogdcn's journal of the expedition is printed in Oregon Historical So- 
ciety, Quarterly, vol. xi, 204*222. 

81 Ogden's journal of this expedition is printed in Oregon Historical 
Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 361-379. 

82 See page 274. 

88 The journal of this expedition is printed in Oregon Historical Society, 
Quarterly, vol. xi, 381-396. 

84 Entry of May 28, 1829, in idem, vol. xi, 395. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1 822 51 

The net result of the operations of the Northwest and 
Hudson's Bay Companies in the Columbia and Interior 
Basin areas was, first, a detailed exploration of the 
country lying between the route of Lewis and Clark 
and that of the overland Astorians, the penetration and 
criss-crossing of that vast triangle formed by the two 
forks of the Columbia with the Cordilleras. South 
and west of Snake River, M'Kenzie and Ross had 
pushed into the Interior Basin to be followed, a few 
years later by Ogden. To the west and southwest, Mc- 
Donald, McKay, and Ogden penetrated from the Great 
Salt Lake across the deserts of southern Oregon and 
northern Nevada into the Sierras of the north Pacific, 
crossing to the headwaters of the Sacramento, the Kla- 
math, and Rogue Rivers, streams within the Pacific 
drainage area. For the most part, however, they oper- 
ated north of the forty-second parallel, leaving the task 
of discovery and exploration south of that line to Amer- 
ican trappers and traders, chief among whom were 
William H. Ashley and Jedediah S. Smith. Ameri- 
can enterprise and discovery touched British enterprise 
in the upper valley of Green River, in the Bear Lake 
region, about the Great Salt Lake, across Nevada, and 
in northern California and southern Oregon. 

One of the most noteworthy features of all the dis- 
covery and exploration crowded into this first third of 
the century is the simultaneity of it. Wherever an 
Englishman penetrated, there an American was sure 
to be a few months before or a few months after him. 
This, of course, was more true of the region north of 
the forty-second parallel than south of it. In the 
Columbia drainage area, the American trappers had 
free rein though their rewards were less. 

By the year of Ashley's first venture in the fur trade, 
1822, the known area of the west comprised, in the first 

52 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

place, the main valley of the Missouri and its great 
tributary, the Yellowstone. The intervening country 
had been criss-crossed by Americans and to some extent 
by British trappers. South of the Yellowstone occa- 
sional travelers, such as Colter and the overland As- 
torians, had pushed as far as Wind River and across 
the lofty range at its source. The general route of the 
Oregon trail eastward from the point where it follows 
the Sandy had been traced by the returning Astorians. 
Having struck that trail, however, by crossing from 
the upper reaches of Hoback, they had consequently 
avoided that portion lying within the Interior Basin. 
This area, however, had been skirted by the detach- 
ment of Astorians sent out from Henry's fort, then by 
the overland Astorians in their weird circumvolutions 
under John Miller's guidance, and again by M'Kenzie, 
in 1819. The British, too, had probably reached the 
low divide separating the Interior Basin from Green 
River and had trapped on the upper tributaries of that 
stream. 85 

The Columbia Basin had been crossed and recrossed 
in every direction. Lewis and Clark and David 
Thompson were the first to journey nearly its entire 
length. Andrew Henry had skirted it in 1810, and 
the Englishman, Howes, the same year. The overland 
Astorians had followed its main artery, Snake River. 
After them the Northwest and Hudson's Bay Compan- 
ies had completed the examination of the intervening 
area between the Lewis and Clark forks. The Snake 
country expeditions had not confined themselves to the 
Columbia drainage area, but had crossed, as noted 
above, to the Bear River Valley of the Interior Basin 
and, subsequently, in the year following Ashley's first 
venture, to the area west of the Great Salt Lake, in- 

85 See page 136. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1 822 53 

eluding southern Oregon and northern Nevada. Sim- 
ilarly, they had overstepped the Columbia area to dis- 
cover the sources of the Pacific streams of northern 
California and southern Oregon. 

Meanwhile exploration to the southwest had not been 
neglected. The limited fur trading possibilities of 
this region delayed exploration or rather forced it to 
become the by-product of different enterprise. The 
United States government, itself, despatching Pike and 
Long, undertook to spy out the general features of the 
country between the Arkansas and Missouri and the 
Rockies. The earliest visitors to Santa Fe learned to 
trace their way across the arid plains that intervene be- 
tween the two areas of white settlements. West of the 
Rocky Mountains, which, in the state of Colorado, 
push much further east than in Montana or Idaho, the 
country was, as late as 1822, entirely unknown to Amer- 
icans, while even the Spaniards had but an indifferent 
acquaintance with its general features. 86 Beyond the 
Rockies, within the drainage areas of the Colorado and 
the Interior Basin, no American had penetrated. Two 
adventurous Spaniards, a half century before had 
reached the shore of Utah Lake after traversing west- 
ern Colorado and part of eastern Utah. Other explor- 
ing expeditions had been despatched by the Spaniards 
from Santa Fe from time to time, but the constant state 

86 Much remains to be done in studying the history of early Spanish ex- 
ploration from Santa Fe. One of the best representations of Spanish geogra- 
phic knowledge at this period is Alexander von Humboldt's map, portions of 
which are printed in his Political Essay on the Kingdom of Neiv Spain 
(London, 1811), vol. iii, facing p. 493. The main features of this map are 
embodied in a more intelligible form in the "Map of Spanish North Ameri- 
ca, published as the Act directs, Aug*t. 20, 1818, by Longman, Hunt, Rees, 
Orme, and Brown, Paternoster Row, London." This map is based largely 
on the explorations [and map?] of Dominguez and Escalante. Compare the 
Piano geografico de la tiera descubierta y demarcada por Dn. Bernardo de 
Miera, etc., Ms. map, undated [1777?], unsigned, in United States Library 
of Congress, Woodbury Loiuery Collection, no. 593. 

54 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

of war prevailing between the Spaniards and the Co- 
manches, Utes, and other Indian tribes during the first 
half of the eighteenth century effectually checked any 
real advance into these untraversed regions. 87 After 
1761, Tomas Velez Cachupin, the governor, sent ex- 
ploring expeditions as far as the Gunnison country in 
search of gold and silver. After the beginning of the 
nineteenth century, however, the interests of the in- 
habitants of New Mexico centered about their internal 
political affairs and the development of the mines of 

A great strip, widening as it went westward from the 
Missouri to the Spanish missions of the Pacific could 
be laid down on the map of 1822 and inscribed terra 
incognita. To the north and west, the valley of the 
Missouri and its tributaries was known; to the south 
and west, the route to Santa Fe. Between, lay a vast 
unexplored area. The central tributaries of the Mis- 
souri, to be sure, had been followed along part of their 
course toward the mountains by isolated fur traders at 
intervals ever since the close of the eighteenth century; 
but indefinite indeed was the knowledge of the upper 
stretches of these streams and of the tributary country 
north and south. Few white men had crossed it. 88 
Some of Andrew Henry's men, it is true, may have 
made their way from Snake River to the Spanish set- 
tlements; and not far from the same time, apparently, 
Ezekiel Williams and his companions journeyed from 
the Crow country to the Arkansas. Stephen H. Long, 

87 Twitchell, R. E. Leading Facts of New Mexican History (Cedar Rap- 
ids, 1911), vol. i, 443. 

88 Larocque found a Snake Indian on the Big Horn whose tribe had had 
dealings with the Spanish to the south. "II est arrive ici un sauvage Snake 
qui avait e"te absent depuis le printemps et avait une partie de sa tribu qui 
avait fait des echanges avec les Espagnols." Burpee, L. J. [editor]. "Jour- 
nal de Larocque," in Publications des archives canadlennes, no. 3 (Ottawa, 
19"), 45- 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1 822 55 

furthermore, in 1820 met a French half-breed who had 
been to the source of the North Platte in North Park. 
These isolated journeys, however, had added nothing 
to the general stock of geographic knowledge. The 
great task of exploration, if not of prime discovery, be- 
tween the Missouri and the mountains had yet to be ac- 
complished. Beyond the Rockies, the Interior Basin 
was still virtually a blank. 

The withdrawal of Manuel Lisa from the upper 
country, in 1811, marked a general decline of the 
American fur trade. For a decade, the ambitious ac- 
tivity that had characterized the Missouri Fur Com- 
pany and its predecessors, and that had led to the first 
penetration and survey of so large a stretch of inland 
country had been noticeably subsiding. Instead of 
pushing forward from the established outposts into un- 
visited galleys and mountain defiles, the traders had 
abandoned these very posts, the bases of all further 

One of the first causes of this decline was the failure 
of the great Astor enterprise. Starting with exalted 
ambitions and brilliant prospects and under the man- 
agement of some of the ablest men on the continent, 
British and American, the company had been forced to 
abandon entirely its Pacific project. This was partly 
due to the failure on the part of the maritime end of 
the enterprise to cooperate with the overland division 
and also to the war with Great Britain, which rendered 
the position at Astoria untenable. Competition haa al- 
so, to no small degree, weakened the fur trade. The 
Lisa-Chouteau interests had found the only road to suc- 
cess in replacing competition by combination. No soon- 
er had the Missouri Fur Company been formed, how- 
ever, than other concerns, most of them with inferior 
capital, also undertook to operate in the Upper Mis- 

56 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

souri area. The Astor enterprise was the most formid- 
able rival, but the presence of other smaller concerns, 
all of them willing to resort to unscruplous methods in 
dealing with the Indians tended to reduce the profits 
of them all. 89 

The incessant hostility of the Blackfeet placed a 
serious check on the extension of trapping operations 
beyond the Three Forks and thereby restricted all the 
Upper Missouri companies to an area already worked 
for half a decade. The Blackfeet, furthermore, con- 
trolled directly or indirectly for a considerable time 
the only two known passes over the mountains; and ac- 
cordingly every band of trappers and traders which 
crossed the Cordilleras risked attack from these im- 
placable enemies of the whites. The whole history of 
the Missouri Fur Company had been one of conflict 
with this tribe culminating finally in the great disaster 
of 1823. After the War of 1812, moreover, there was 
little capital in the west available for enterprises so un- 
certain and hazardous as the fur business. 

The Indian policy of the United States government 
also proved unfortunate. The factory system of trade 
with the Indians, adopted in 1796, was intended to pro- 
vide the savages with tools, blankets, seeds, and the like, 
as inducements to abandon nomadic for settled agri- 
cultural life, manifestly an object entirely at variance 
with the natural aboriginal life which made the fur 
trade possible. Having established the factory system 
of trade, the government thereupon negatived its ob- 

89 H. M. Chittenden gives a list of some of the companies of 1819 com- 
peting with the Missouri Fur Company. They included Cerre" and Chou- 
teau, capital, four thousand dollars; Chouteau and Company, capital, six 
thousand dollars; Robidoux and Papin in company with Chouteau and Ber- 
thold, capital, twelve thousand dollars; Pratte and Vasquez, capital, seven 
thousand dollars. See Chittenden, The American Fur Trade of the Far West, 
vol. i, 150, footnote 15. 

The Fur Trade and Western Discovery to 1822 57 

ject from the start by licensing private traders who de- 
sired to enter the Indian country. The government 
and private enterprise thereby became competitors in 
the same field. The consequences were, perhaps, more 
disastrous to the government system than to the private 
concerns, though the latter also suffered. Of great- 
er moment was the government's failure to fur- 
nish adequate protection to those traders whom it li- 
censed. The policy of fostering care of the Indians 
was naturally incompatible with the use of force against 
them even for the protection of American citizens, who 
were pretty generally regarded as being in the wrong 
whenever clashes with the Indians occurred. The citi- 
zens of St. Louis had petitioned Congress in the winter 
of 1815 for the establishment of military posts at the 
Falls of St. Anthony and at the Mandan villages, 90 but 
for three years received no response. When the gov- 
ernment, awakening finally to the need of protection, 
despatched the famous Yellowstone expedition in 1819 
with the very sensible object of building forts at Coun- 
cil Bluffs, the Mandan villages, and the mouth of the 
Yellowstone, 91 it only further demonstrated its feeble- 
ness. A nautical monstrosity, the steamship Western 
Engineer, a single post near Council Bluffs, soon aban- 
doned, and an abortive exploring expedition was all 
that the government had to show for the money expend- 
ed. 92 It was not until 1822 that the factory system was 

90 Niles Register, August 14, 1819. 

91 O'Fallon to Sibley, St. Louis, May 3, 1818, in Missouri Historical So- 
ciety (St. Louis), Sibley Mss., vol. iii. It was expressly stated that the pur- 
pose of these military establishments was to control the operations of the 
Northwest and Hudson's Bay companies in their dealings with Indians resi- 
dent within the United States and to protect American traders. See Niles 
Register, May 9, 1818. 

92 It should be admitted, however, that the undertaking brought the power 
of the United States army to Omaha, furnishing a certain assurance to the 

58 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

It was now ten years since the fur trade entered on 
its decline. In the interval, changed conditions had 
arisen. Competition had reduced all concerns to a 
dead level of mediocre returns, the upper country had 
restocked itself, more capital was available, and the 
British companies had been definitely excluded from 
operations in the territory of the United States. The 
government had promised its citizens protection in the 
Indian country and, as an earnest of its good intentions, 
had abolished the factory system. Taking advantage 
of these altered conditions several new trading compan- 
ies were formed with headquarters at St. Louis. One 
of these was the American Fur Company representing 
the Astor interests, which, since the fall of Astoria, had 
been confined to the region of the Great Lakes. The 
political influence of this powerful company had been 
largely instrumental in securing the abolition of the 
factory system. An office was now opened in St. 
Louis. 93 Another concern entering the field at this time 
was the Columbia Fur Company, founded only the year 
before. 94 Other companies now engaging in the busi- 
ness for the first time or with increased capital were 
Stone, Bostwick and Company, Bernard Pratte and 
Company, and Ashley and Henry. All planned to 
operate in the Upper Missouri and Yellowstone coun- 
try, the dangerous neighborhood of the Three Forks, 
and the trans-montane area so long abandoned. 

fur traders that in their operations as far up the Missouri River as this 
point, at least, they were reasonably sure of protection. The exploratory 
division of the expedition, under Major Long, found a route up the South 
Platte to the mountains, which, a few years later, Ashley was to utilize and 

93 Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 319. See also Thomas Allen 
in De Bow, Industrial Resources (New York, 1854.), vol. iii, 517. Allen, 
however, gives the date erroneously as 1819. 

94 Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 325. 

II. William Henry Ashley 

William Henry Ashley, born, 1778, was a native of 
Powhatan County, Virginia. 95 He came, accordingly, 
from that portion of the United States which produced 
many of the earliest trans-Mississippi pioneers. From 
Virginia and its offspring, Kentucky, haled most of the 
leaders in western discovery and exploration. Lewis 
and Clark were Virginians. The nine civilians who 
accompanied them were all Kentuckians. 96 So also 
were John Hoback, Jacob Rezner, and Edward Rob- 
inson, of Astorian fame, and the Sublettes, Milton, 
William, Pinckney, Andrew, and Solomon. John Day, 
another Astorian, and James Bridger, prominent a lit- 
tle later, were Virginians. The list might easily be 
extended. Ashley received a good education in the 
county schools, and there is ample evidence in his let- 
ters and speeches to indicate that he was better equipped 
intellectually than most of his contemporaries. Al- 
though he removed to St. Louis in i8o8, 97 he retained 
an interest in Virginian affairs and as late as 1829 had 

95 Switzler, W. F. "General William Henry Ashley," in American Month- 
ly Magazine, vol. xxxii, 318. Ashley was not a common Virginian name. 
The Hanover County records contain a deed of 1791 to a William Ashley 
of Spotsylvania, William and Mary College, Quarterly, vol. xxi, 160. Switz- 
ler conjectures that he was the son of the William Ashley, who, in 1750, was 
given permission to construct a gallery in St. Paul's Church, Norfolk. Cora- 
pare Meade, Old Churches, Ministers, and Families of Virginia (Philadel- 
phia, 1861), vol. i, 276. 

96 Thwaites, R. G. Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedi- 
tion (New York, 1904), vol. i, pp. xxxi and Iv, footnote. 

97 Missouri Republican, April 3, 1838. Switzler, op. cit., loc. cit. Not 
in 1802, as stated by Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 247. 

60 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

business dealings in his native state that demanded his 
personal attention. 98 

The year of Ashley's arrival in St. Louis was the year 
of Manuel Lisa's return from his first sucessful venture 
to the Upper Missouri country, an event of conspicu- 
ous importance in the fur trade. For a time, however, 
other enterprises attracted Ashley's attention. A 
knowledge of surveying and a slight familiarity with 
geology furnished him opportunities for visiting the 
remoter portions of Missouri." It was on one of his 
expeditions of this sort that he discovered "Ashley's 
Cave" in a lonely valley on Cave Creek, Texas County, 
about eighty miles southwest of Potosi. 

This cave is situated in a high wall of lime-stone rock. The 
entrance to it is by a winding foot-path from the banks of the 
creek, and leads to the mouth of the cave at an elevation of 
about fifty feet above the level of the water. Its mouth is about 
ninety feet wide and thirty in height, a size, which, without 
great variation, it holds for two hundred yards. Here it sud- 
denly opens into a room which is an irregular circle, with a 
height of eighty or ninety feet and a diameter of three hundred, 
having several passages diverging from it in various directions. 
The two largest passages lead southwest and south, and after 
* winding along a considerable distance, in the course of which 
they are successively widened and narrowed, unite and lead in a 
south course about five hundred yards, where the passage is 
choaked up by large masses of stalactite, formed by the water 
which has filtered through the superincumbent rock at that 
place. The largest passage from the circular amphitheatre of 
the cave diverging north opens by another mouth in the rock, 
facing the valley of Cave Creek, at no great distance below the 
principal mouth. Several smaller passages diverge from each of 

98 "I had determined to attend personally to some business in Virginia 
and on my way to visit Washington City," - Ashley to Benton, January 20, 
1829, in United States Senate, Executive Documents, zoth congress, second 
session, vol. i, no. 67. 

99 Ashley was one of the first to examine the Ozark Mountains, which 
he pronounced metalliferous. Schoolcraft, Scenes and Adventures in the 
Semi-Alpine Region of the Ozark Mountains (Philadelphia, 1853), 47. 

Explorations of William Ashley 61 

the main ones, but cannot be followed to any great extent, or 
are shut up by fragments of the fallen rock. Near the centre 
of the largest opening, a handsome spring of clear water issues. 100 

Within the mouth of the cave Ashley erected a com- 
plete plant for the extraction of commercial saltpetre 
from the potassium nitrate with which the cave 
abounded. 101 The prepared saltpetre he hauled to a 
gunpowder factory, which he built at Potosi, the only 
one in that part of the country. 102 Here Ashley resided 
for a time, conducting his business in partnership with 
one, Brown. 103 The total production of their factory in 
the eighteen months from December 31, 1816 to June, 
1818 amounted to sixty thousand pounds, valued at 
thirty thousand dollars. 104 It was probably during his 
residence at Potosi that Ashley made the acquaintance 
of Andrew Henry. 

Although Andrew Henry had not gone to the moun- 
tains since 1811, he had retained his financial interest 
in the Missouri Fur Company, being present at meet- 
ings of the directors in St. Louis in 1812 and 1813, and 
by proxy, in i8i4. 105 By this last year, however, he 
had removed from St. Louis to Potosi, where he was 
engaged in the lead mining industry. 

100 Schoolcraft, H. R. Journal of a Tour into the Interior of Missouri 
and Arkansas (London, 1821), n ff. 

101 The year in which Ashley began this undertaking is uncertain, but 
Schoolcraft, who visited the cave in November, 1818, found no one in 
charge of the works, which appeared "to have lain idle for some time." 
Schoolcraft, op. cit., 13 ; Schoolcraft, H. R. Scenes and Adventures, etc., 
228. Ashley was in St. Louis as late as 1814. Compare Chittenden, Ameri- 
can Fur Trade, vol. i, 248. 

102 Schoolcraft, H. R. View of the Lead Mines of Missouri (New York, 
1819), 43; also Tour into the Interior, etc., 10. 

103 Schoolcraft, H. R. View of the Lead Mines, etc., 47. Schoolcraft al- 
ludes to him as "Colonel Ashley of Mine a Burton" [Potosi] in Tour into 
the Interior, etc., 10. 

104 Schoolcraft, H. R. Vieio of the Lead Mines, etc., 47. 

108 Records of the St. Louis Missouri Fur Company, Mss. in the Kansas 
Historical Society (Topeka). 

62 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

The beginnings of modern lead mining in Missouri 
date from the year 1798 when Moses Austin, of Con- 
necticut and Virginia and subsequently of Texan fame, 
erected the first scientific smelter at Mine a Burton. 10 * 
His process of extracting the ore was so far in advance 
of the primitive methods employed by the Spaniards 
that a direct impetus was given to an industry that had 
hitherto attracted but little attention. The demand for 
shot, created by the War of 1812, together with the 
discovery of new and richer deposits of ore in the vi- 
cinity of Mine a Burton, made lead mining one of the 
principal industries of the territory. 

Instead of investing in one of the existing mines, 
Henry, apparently, had sufficient capital to undertake 
independent operations. His shaft, known as "Henry's 
Diggings," was worked profitably for some years, al- 
though by 1818, in common with a number of other 
mines in this neighborhood, it was no longer operated. 107 

Potosi was a small town, having only about five hun- 
dred inhabitants in 1818 and consequently its prominent 
citizens were few in number. First in importance was 
Moses Austin, the pioneer of the mines, still living near 
Mine a Burton. Among the few other men of mark in 
this small community were Andrew Henry, who, al- 
most on his arrival, apparently, had been selected fore- 
man of the first grand jury of Washington County, 108 
and William Henry Ashley, who, with Moses Austin, 
was a member of the Board of Trustees of Potosi 
Academy, an educational institution incorporated in 

108 For a brief sketch of Moses Austin see Garrison, Texas (Boston^ 
1903), 138 ff. 

107 Schoolcraft, H. R. View of the Lead Mines, etc., 127. Ashley had 
for a time an interest in Mine Shibboleth, also at this date abandoned. 

108 History of Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Crawford, and Gasconade 
Counties (Chicago, 1888), 494. 

Explorations of William Ashley 63 

9 It was natural that Ashley and Henry should 
be thrown much together and that, with the decline of 
the mining business, they should look about for fresh 
opportunities for investment. Henry's experience in 
the fur trade had not only acquainted him with the re- 
mote areas of the Upper Missouri but had familiarized 
him with the details of that important industry. Ob- 
serving the trend of the business, he had wisely with- 
drawn from the Missouri Fur Company, when, toward 
the close of the War of 1812, the trade was rapidly de- 
clining. By 1819, however, the outlook was begin- 
ning to appear brighter, and three years later, Henry, 
in company with Ashley, abandoned the mining in- 
dustry, turning to this more romantic, risky, and, in 
their case, lucrative enterprise. 

Ashley, meantime, had attained greater prominence 
and higher distinction than could attach to member- 
ship on the board of trustees of Potosi Academy. In- 
terested in the development of the territorial militia 
and active in politics, he had advanced, in the former, 
from the rank of captain in 1813, through that of 
colonel in 1819, to a generalship in 1822, while his ven- 
tures in politics won him in 1821, by a close margin, 
the lieutenant-governorship of the newly formed state 
of Missouri. Three years later, after his successful 
engagement in the fur trade, he ran for governor but 
was defeated. 110 None of Ashley's financial enterprises 
down to 1822, however, had been attended by marked 
success. After fourteen years' residence in Missouri, 

109 History of Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Crawford, and Gasconade 
Counties, 516, 525. 

110 Edwards, R. and M. Hopewell. Edwards's Great West (St. Louis, s. 
d -), 337- Davis, W. R. and D. S. Durrie. Illustrated History of Missouri 
(St Louis, 1876), 72, 86. Compare Wetmore, Gazetteer of Missouri (St. 
Louis, 1837), 379- Switzler, op. cit., American Monthly Magazine, vol. 
xxxii, 323. 

64 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

he not only had not made a fortune, but was estimated 
to be nearly one hundred thousand dollars in debt. 111 
The renewed activity in the fur trade was, however, by 
1822, attracting repeated notice. One observer wrote: 
Those formerly engaged in the trade have increased their capital 
and extended their enterprise, many new firms have engaged in 
it and others are preparing to do so. It is computed that a thou- 
sand men chiefly from this place [St. Louis] are now employed 
on the waters of the Missouri and half that number on the upper 
Mississippi. 112 

Ashley and Henry were among the former. 

Henry's experience stood him in excellent stead. He 
was familiar with the details of the business and with 
the resources of the country beyond the mountains, a 
region neglected by Americans after the collapse of the 
Astor enterprise, but which Henry and Ashley seem to 
have fixed upon from the start as one of their princi- 
pal fields of operation. The remoteness of this area, 
however, necessitated a new method of conducting the 
business. Hitherto it had been customary to erect trad- 
ing posts or forts at convenient points in the mountains, 
whither the Indians might repair with their peltries 
for trade or from which as a base the hired trappers 
might operate. This system, which had been devel- 
oped largely by Manuel Lisa, had broken down be- 
cause of the uncertain factors on which its success de- 

111 Letter of Thomas Forsyth to Lewis Cass, October 24, 1831, in United 
States Senate, Executive Documents, 22d congress, ist session, vol. ii, no. 
90. Compare Letter of N. J. Wyeth to Messrs. Hall, Tucker, and Williams, 
Cambridge, Mass., November 8, 1833, in Young, Sources of the History of 
Oregon (Eugene, Oregon, 1899), vol. i, 73. Wyeth says that Ashley was 
"bankrupt but a person of credit." 

112 Missouri Intelligencer, September 17, 1822. That these new ventures 
were already justified is evidenced by the fact that, in the fall of 1822, Cap- 
tain Perkins of the Missouri Fur Company came down the river with a 
packet of furs valued at the unprecedented sum of fourteen thousand dol- 
lars, which was followed shortly by another worth ten thousand dollars. 
Both had come from the Yellowstone country. See Missouri Intelligencer, 
October 29, 1822. 

Explorations of William Ashley 67 

pended, first, the quantity of goods at the post which 
needed to be constantly replenished, second, the ability 
of the men to hold the forts against hostile attack, and 
third, the willingness of the Indians to come with their 
furs to trade. 

Instead of depending on the savages to furnish their 
furs, Henry and Ashley determined to employ white 
men in the actual task of trapping, and for the regu- 
larly established post to substitute, in large measure, 
the annual rendezvous. The trapper was to supplant 
the trader. To be sure he might procure a consider- 
able portion of his furs from the Indians or by shrewd 
bargaining from the employees of other companies, 
but it was his duty to secure all that he could by what- 
ever means; and he was paid in proportion to the num- 
ber and quality of the furs he brought to rendezvous. 
The rendezvouses were conducted at appointed points 
to which the annual supply of goods could be conveyed 
from the states and from which the year's accumulation 
of peltries could be transported down country. Later, 
other companies adopted the Ashley-Henry business 
methods, until, within the region not directly tributary 
to the Missouri, they became recognised and customary. 
Ashley has been credited with the invention of this sys- 
tem, 113 and it is true that the first use of the term ren- 
dezvous, in its technical sense, occurs in the Ashley nar- 
rative of 1825;"* but, as a matter of fact, such methods 
with certain modifications were already used by the 
Hudson's Bay Company in the conduct of their Snake 
country expeditions, while even among the American 
companies who were in the field in 1821 and 1822, if 
not earlier, they were not unknown. 115 

113 Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 273. 

114 See page 140. 

115 Benton, T. H. "Speech in the Senate," reprinted in Proceedings of the 

68 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Such methods required a large force of young men 
capable of withstanding the rigors of life in the wilder- 
ness. A sufficient number for the first expedition sent 
out by Ashley and Henry were secured through an ad- 
vertisement inserted in the Missouri Republican of 
March 20, 1822. A call was made for "one hundred 
young men to ascend the Missouri to its source, there 
to be employed for one, two, or three years." Three 
weeks later Ashley and Henry secured licenses to enter 
the Indian country and almost immediately after de- 
parted, fully equipped, from St. Louis. 117 The per- 
sonnel of this party can not be determined in detail but 
included James Bridger, Thomas Fitzpatrick, one of 
the Sublettes, and perhaps Etienne Provot. Andrew 
Henry, as the experienced partner, was in command, 
though Ashley accompanied the expedition as far as 
the mouth of the Yellowstone. An unfortunate disas- 
ter occurred some twenty miles below Fort Osage when 
one of the two boats in which the expedition had em- 
barked was sunk, entailing a loss of property valued at 
ten thousand dollars. Undaunted, however, they con- 
tinued their way to the mouth of the Yellowstone, 
where a fort was erected, intended to serve rather as a 

Senate of the United States on the Bill for the Protection of the Fur Trade 
(St. Louis, 1824), 29. N. J. Wyeth, in a letter to Messrs. Hall, Tucker, 
and Williams, dated Cambridge, Nov. 8, 1833, says, "In the course of this 
business [Ashley] perceived that there was plenty of beaver in the country 
to which he had resorted for trade, but great difficulty to induce the Indians 
to catch it. After many trials of trading voyages, he converted his trading 
parties into trapping parties." - Young, F. G. Sources of the History of 
Oregon, vol. i, 74. 

116 Niles Register, June 8, 1822. See also Chittenden, American Fur 
Trade, vol. i, 262. It is greatly to be regretted that the only file of the 
Missouri Republican for the years, 1822-1827, has disappeared. 

117 "Licenses to Trade with the Indians, 1822" in United States Senate, 
Executive Documents, i8th congress, ist session, no. i. Joshua Pilcher 
stated that forty or fifty of the company proceeded by land, the remainder 
by water. See United States American State Papers, Indian Affairs, vol. 
, 455- 

Explorations of William Ashley 69 

base of operations for the men than as a trading post. 118 
Ashley then returned to St. Louis leaving Henry to 
conduct the fall and winter hunt. 

No unusual difficulty or danger seems to have been 
encountered until the ensuing summer, when a general 
wave of hostility swept over the Indian tribes of the 
upper Missouri, due perhaps to the sudden influx of 
whites following the revival of the trade. On Pryor's 
fork of the Yellowstone, Jones and Immel of the Mis- 
souri Fur Company suffered a crushing defeat in May 
at the hands of the Blackfeet. Both leaders with many 
of their men were killed. The same tribe of Indians, 
either just before or just after this massacre, fell on a 
party of eleven of Henry's men near the mouth of 
Smith's River, killing four. 119 A band of Assiniboines 
had already attacked Henry on the Missouri stealing 
fifty of his horses. 120 The culmination of fchese disasters 
was the defeat of Ashley himself by the Arikaras. 

After his return to St. Louis in the fall of 1822, Ash- 
ley had set about organizing a second expedition, which 
he planned to conduct to the mountains the following 
spring. 121 Resorting again to advertising, he procured 
another hundred recruits with whom he left St. Louis, 
March 10, 1823, m ^ wo keel-boats, the "Rocky Moun- 
tains" and "Yellowstone Packet," arriving without in- 

118 Joshua Pilcher, "Report, 1831," in United States Senate, Executive 
Documents, 22d congress, ist session, vol. ii, no. 90. 

119 "Casualty List furnished by Smith, Jackson, and Sublette," Superin- 
tendent of Indian Affairs, Letter Book, Kansas Historical Society, Mss. 
Compare also Letter of Benjamin O'Fallon to General Atkinson, July 3, 
1823, in United States Senate, Executive Documents, i8th congress, ist ses- 
sion, vol. i, no. i. 

120 Benton, T. H. Proceedings of the Senate, etc., 29. 

121 A fresh license was issued Ashley and Henry, March 12, 1823, for 
a period of five years to trade with the "Ricaras, Score, Mandans, Milanawa, 
Blackfoor, and Crow tribes, within and west of the Rocky Mountains." 
United States House, ExAutive Documents, i8th congress, ist session, vol. 
i. no. 7. 

70 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

cident at a point just below the Ankara villages on the 
thirtieth of May. 122 

The personnel of this party is of more than passing 
interest. Among others, the expedition included David 
E. Jackson, William L. Sublette, 123 and Jedediah S. 
Smith. These three, now presumably for the first time 
brought together as employees of Ashley, were within 
a few years to succeed him in business and to carry into 
more remote regions and with greater enterprise the 
industry which he had built up. Their worthiness as 
mountain men was presently demonstrated in the awk- 
ward situation which arose at the Arikara villages. 
On his way up, Ashley had been informed by agents of 
the Missouri Fur Company that there had been a re- 
cent encounter with this traditionally hostile tribe in 
which two of the Indians had been killed. According 
to their representations, the Arikaras, who were on the 
war-path against the Sioux, had fallen in with a party 
of the Missouri Fur Company's men traveling in com- 
pany with two or three of the latter. These the Ari- 
karas had demanded should be surrendered. The trad- 
ers had naturally refused. Hostilities then ensued with 
the unfortunate consequences mentioned. The Ari- 
karas then and there, it was stated, swore vengeance 
against the whites and were now only lying in wait for 
a good opportunity of taking it. As a matter of fact, 
the enmity of the Arikaras was as old as the trade itself, 
but in this particular instance, no doubt, could be re- 
garded as part and parcel of the prevailing Indian 
hostility of this year. 

122 Missouri Intelligencer, March 25, April i, July 8, 1823. 

128 William L. Sublette, one of five brothers, all of whom were interested 
in the fur trade, was born in Kentucky in 1799, moved to St. Charles, Mis- 
souri, in 1818, and thence to St. Louis. He died in 1845. A considerable 
mass of his correspondence and accounts are preserved in the Sublette Mss. t 
Missouri Historical Society (St. Louis). 

Explorations of William Ashley 71 

Forewarned, Ashley on reaching the villages pre- 
pared to act with caution. 124 Wisely anchoring his 
boats in the middle of the stream, below the villages, 
he went ashore accompanied by two men. A group of 
Ankara warriors, including the chiefs, instantly greet- 
ed him with protestations of friendship and very ami- 
ably suggested that he land a portion of his goods and 
begin trade with them at once. This was precisely 
what Ashley was anxious to do, for he had just received 
an express from Major Henry desiring him to purchase 
all the horses he could procure to replace those recent- 
ly stolen by the Assiniboins. Ashley was prepared to 
purchase a sufficient number of mounts to convey forty 
of his men overland to join Henry while the remainder 
proceeded by the boats. Still cautious, however, Ash- 
ley insisted that the trading be conducted not in the vil- 
lages but on the open sand beach by the river. The 
Indians, after some consultation among themselves, 
agreed. Ashley thereupon made them a small gift of 
powder and muskets, seizing the occasion to let them 
understand that he was perfectly aware of their previ- 
ous conduct toward the whites and warning them for 
the future. They professed to regret the late affair, 
assuring Ashley that they no longer harbored any ill 
feeling but regarded the Americans as their very true 
friends and intended henceforth to treat them as such. 

Matters now seemed satisfactorily arranged, and the 
following morning, the first of June, Ashley began his 
purchases. As soon as he had secured the requisite 
number of horses, which did not take long, he made 
ready to proceed the next morning. Late in the after- 
noon, however, a courier came from the Bear, one of 

124 The Arikara villages were on the right bank of the Missouri between 
Grand and Cannonball Rivers, within the South Dakota portion of the present 
Standing Rock Indian Reservation. 

72 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

the chiefs, requesting Ashley to pay him a visit. Ash- 
ley complied with the invitation, was cordially received, 
and returned shortly to his boats for the night. About 
half past three on the morning of June second, he was 
suddenly awakened by one of his men who informed 
him that Aaron Stephens, an employee, had just been 
killed by the Indians and that an attack on the boats 
was momentarily expected. The night before Ashley 
had divided his force, leaving forty of his party on 
shore in charge of the horses, while the remainder, to- 
taling about fifty, he had lodged on the ships. The 
shore party were camped on the beach at a point ap- 
proximately midway between the two boats, which were 
anchored about ninety feet off shore. 

With sunrise the Indians began a general attack di- 
recting their fire from a line extending along the pickets 
of their villages and from the shelter of the broken 
ground adjoining. The men on shore, being in direct 
line of the fire, suffered severe losses immediately. As 
the only retreat lay toward the river, Ashley undertook 
to have the horses swum across to a sand-bar near the 
middle of the stream, where the water was only three 
feet deep. This move, however, was rendered impos- 
sible by the increased and concentrated fire of the sav- 
ages who were using Ashley's gift of powder and mus- 
kets to advantage. The only other course was to rein- 
force the land party. Ashley, accordingly, ordered an- 
chors weighed and the boats put to shore. Most of the 
oarsmen were so panic struck, however, that, says Ash- 
ley, "notwithstanding every exertion on my part to 
enforce the execution of the order, I could not effect 
it." The men refused to expose themselves to the 
slightest danger. The situation was becoming desper- 
ate, with half his men enduring a terrific fire and the 
other half in virtual mutiny. The land party, how- 

Explorations of William Ashley 73 

ever, displayed splendid courage. Two skiffs, suffi- 
cient to convey between twenty and thirty men were, 
at length, rowed to shore for their embarkation. Most 
of them, however, refused to avail themselves of this 
means of escape, preferring rather to avenge then and 
there the loss of their comrades rather than yield an 
inch of ground until forced to it. 

Only four or five men, two of them wounded, climbed 
into the larger skiff and started for the vessels; at the 
same time two others, one of them mortally wounded, 
started in the other boat for the opposite bank. As 
soon as the wounded had been removed, the larger boat 
was ordered back to the shore again, but scarcely had 
it left the ship, when one of the oarsmen was shot down, 
and the craft began to drift helplessly down stream. 
By this time, most of the horses were killed and about 
half the men were dead or wounded. Renewed efforts 
to get the boats to shore were in vain, although the land 
party were now so greatly reduced that they could no 
longer hope to keep up the fight. Cut off entirely from 
the vessels, with the skiffs gone, the only loop-hole of 
escape lay in swimming the ninety feet separating them 
from their comrades. Most of them made it. Some of 
the wounded, however, went under before they could 
reach the boats or, failing to make due allowance for 
the force of the current, were carried too far down 
stream. Some were shot down on the shore even be- 
fore they could plunge into the water. In fifteen min- 
utes it was all over and the last of the swimmers was 
scrambling into the boats. One ship weighed anchor, 
the other cut itself loose, and both drifted down stream. 

The losses amounted to thirteen killed and ten or 
eleven wounded. 125 "To describe my feelings," says 

125 There are two casualty lists, one in a letter of Ashley's, dated June 4, 
1823, printed in United States Senate, Executive Documents, i8th congress, 

74 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Ashley, "at seeing these men destroyed is out of my 
power. I feel confident that if my orders had been 
obeyed, I should not have lost five men." This fail- 
ure to obey orders, bewailed by the commander, does 
not clear him of a large share of the blame for the dis- 
aster. In the first place, to leave forty of his men on 
shore with the horses in a manifestly unprotected posi- 
tion, knowing full well the treachery of the Arikaras, 
was a grave mistake. The assurance of friendliness 
made on Ashley's arrival and, subsequently, in the lodge 
of the Bear, seems quite to have lulled his natural sus- 
picions and to have led him into this error, though he 
is said to have been warned by one of the Ankara chiefs, 
the craven Little Soldier. 127 

The only safe thing to have done after concluding his 
bargain would have been to move both the land party, 
with the horses, and also the boats down stream to a 
point sufficiently removed from the villages to have 
made an attack, at least from behind the Indians' own 

ist session, vol. i, no. i, and reprinted [inaccurately] in Edwards's Great 
West, 333 ff. ; the other, in a letter of Ashley's, dated June 7, and printed in 
the Missouri Intelligencer of July 8, 1823. Presumably the second is the 
more accurate. The first is as follows: "Killed, John Matthews, John 
Collins, Aaron Stevens (killed at night in the fort), James McDaniel, West- 
ley Piper, George Filage, Benjamin F. Sneed, James Penn, Jr., John Miller, 
John S. Gardner, Ellis Ogle, David Howard. Wounded, Reed Gibson (since 
dead), Joseph Mouse, John Larrison [brother perhaps of Daniel Larrison, 
one of Lisa's men, Missouri Historical Society, Collections, vol. iv, 204], 
Abraham Ricketts, Robert Tucker, Joseph Thompson, Jacob Miller, David 
McClain, Hugh Glass, Auguste Dufier, Willis (black man)." The second is 
as follows: "Killed, John Matthews, John Collins, Benjamin F. Sneed, 
Thully Piper, James M. Daniel, Joseph S. Gardner, George Flager, David 
Howard, Aaron Stephens, James Penn, Jr., John Miller, Ellis Ogle. Wound- 
ed, John Larrison, Joseph Manso, Reed Gibson (since dead), Joseph Thomp- 
son, Robert Tucker, James Davis, Aaron Ricketts, Jacob Miller, August 
Dufren, Hugh Glass, Daniel M'Clain, Thilless (black man)." The Indian 
losses were slight 

126 Missouri Intelligencer, July 8, 1823. 

127 United States American State Papers, Indian Affairs, vol. ii, 452. 

Explorations of William Ashley 75 

stockade pickets, impossible even of attempt. To make 
bad matters worse, Ashley's error in judgment seems 
to have been followed up next day by a distressing 
pusillanimity. The boatmen refused to expose them- 
selves at Ashley's order; they declined to put to shore 
in the skiffs ; in a word, they mutinied. Ashley's state- 
ment that he used every effort to enforce his commands 
is absurd. Every commander has at his disposal, if he 
is bold and determined enough to use it, an argument 
well suited to the type of cowardice exhibited by these 
men, namely the threat, made with the manifest inten- 
tion of abiding by it, to shoot the first man who dis- 
obeyed. A moment of real resolve on Ashley's part 
might have prevented the loss, as he himself estimated, 
of no more than five men. His personal courage of the 
day before, which lead him to go virtually unattended 
to the lodge of the Bear, seems not to have been fol- 
lowed up by that other kind of courage, so frequently 
required of a commander, the courage that may demand 
the purposeful sacrifice of one human life in order that 
pthers may be saved. 

That his men sized him up correctly was evident at 
once. The boats having fallen back to the first tim- 
ber, a landing was made, and the general situation sur- 
veyed. 12 * It was Ashley's desire to proceed at once with 
his boats past the Arikara villages, but his men in- 
formed him with decision that they would not under- 
take such a move without adequate reinforcements. 
Next morning, Ashley approached them again on the 
subject only to find the men, after a night's considera- 
tion, more determined than ever. 

I had them paraded and made known to them the manner in 

128 In the vicinity of Ashley island. Compare Missouri River Commis- 
sion, Map of the Missouri River (Washington, 1892-1895), plate xlv. 

76 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

which I proposed fixing the boats and passing the Indian village. 
After saying all that I conceived necessary to satisfy them, and, 
having good reason to believe that I should be, with but very 
few exceptions, deserted in a short time by all my men, as some 
of them had already formed a resolution to desert, I called on 
those disposed to remain with me under any circumstances, until 
I should here (fie) from Major Henry, to whom I would send 
an express immediately and request that he would descend with 
all the aid he could spare from his fort at the mouth of the Yel- 
lowstone. Thirty only volunteered, among whom are but few 
boatmen; consequently I am compelled to send one boat back, 
having secured her cargo here. 129 

Ashley, accordingly, despatched the "Yellowstone 
Packet" down stream with five of the wounded men to 
Fort Atkinson, erected two years before near Council 
Bluffs, some four hundred fifty miles below his camp. 
The patroon or commander of this contingent was to 
continue the entire distance to St. Louis, 130 but, on the 
way, was to advise Colonel Leavenworth at Fort Atkin- 
son of the nature and magnitude of the disaster, re- 
questing military reinforcements with which to force a 
passage through the Ankara villages. 131 

On the departure of the "Yellowstone Packet," Ash- 
ley resolved to acquaint Henry as soon as possible with 
the disaster which had delayed him and secure from 
him all the aid that could be spared from the upper 
country. Knowing the temper of his men, however, he 
called for volunteers to undertake the hazardous jour- 
ney overland to Henry's fort. The first to step for- 
ward was Jedediah Smith, who had been one of the 

129 Missouri Intelligencer, July 8, 1823. The above narrative of Ashley's 
encounter with the Arikaras is based on his letters of June 7 and of June 4, 
the latter to Colonel Leavenworth, printed in United States Senate, Executive 
Documents, i8th congress, ist session, vol. i, no. i. 

130 Compare Missouri Intelligencer, July i, 1823. 

iai United States Senate, Executive Documents, i8th congress, ist session, 
vol. i, no. i. 

Explorations of William Ashley 77 

party on shore during the late encounter. A French 
Canadian volunteered to accompany him. 135 After un- 
dergoing severe hardships and escaping death, or worse, 
on several occasions Smith and his companion finally 
reached the post Informed of the situation, Henry 
acted promptly. Leaving behind only twenty men, he 
proceeded down the Missouri with the rest of his force 
in company with Smith. Making excellent progress 
with the current, they soon approached the Ankara vil- 
lages. The Indians, coming down to the shore, invited 
them to land and trade. Henry, however, acting with 
prudence and decision, sailed straight down the channel, 
declining to have any intercourse with them. 133 Soon 
after, he joined Ashley in his camp at the mouth of the 
Cheyenne River. 134 

Meanwhile the "Yellowstone Packet" had reached 
Fort Atkinson, June 1 8, with the wounded men and mes- 
sages for Colonel Leavenworth. Only a few hours after 
its arrival an express came in announcing the massacre 
of Immel and Jones of the Missouri Fur Company with 
most of their men on the Yellowstone. Two reports of 
this nature in such rapid succession determined Colonel 
Leavenworth to move promptly with the whole force 

132 Waldo, William. Reminiscences of Jedediah S. Smith, Waldo Ms., 
Missouri Historical Society. Compare also letter of Ashley, June 4, 1823, in 
United States Senate, op. cit. 

133 Letter of Brigadier-general Henry Atkinson to Major-general Gaines, 
St. Louis, August 15, 1823, in United States Senate, op. cit. 

134 The date of Henry's arrival can not be determined exactly. Ashley 
expected him within twelve or fifteen days after Smith's departure, Ashley 
to Leavenworth, June 4, 1823. Chittenden states that he arrived "about 
the second of July." Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 269. It 
was certainly earlier, possibly within the fortnight set by Ashley, for 
shortly before the eighth of July, two of Henry's men, who continued down 
stream with their furs, passed Fort Atkinson, over four hundred miles below 
Ashley's camp, en route to St. Louis. United States Senate, of>. cit. It is 
probable that he joined Ashley about June 23, as it would take about a fort- 
night to proceed from Ashley's camp to Fort Atkinson. 

78 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

at his command to protect Ashley in his further ascent 
of the river and to punish the Indians for so daring an 
outrage. Six companies of the Sixth Regiment, amount- 
ing in all to about two hundred fifty men, together with 
two six-pound cannon were embarked, June twenty-sec- 
ond. Three keel boats, one of them the "Yellowstone 
Packet," were used for conveying the stores and part of 
the force. 136 The rest proceeded by land. On the 
twenty-seventh, they were overtaken by Joshua Pilcher 
of the Missouri Fur Company with sixty men, who 
placed his two boats and his force at Leavenworth's 
disposal. He had taken on board at Fort Atkinson a 
five and one half inch howitzer with its equipment. His 
assistance proved very material a week later, when one 
of the government boats was sunk. 

On the nineteenth of July, having "arrived at a trad- 
ing establishment called by the Indian traders Fort 
Recovery and sometimes Cedar Fort," 138 they were 
joined by a small band of Yankton Sioux who were 
anxious to have a share in fighting their old enemies, 
the Arikaras. Some days later, about two hundred 
Saone and Hunkpapa Sioux also appeared, while ru- 
mors came in that others were on the way. Pilcher, 
having explained the object of the expedition, easily 
induced them to join. Soon after, they reached Ash- 
ley's new camp near the mouth of the Teton River, 
whither he had removed on Henry's arrival. 137 He 
was not there when Leavenworth arrived, having hasti- 
ly departed for his upper camp one hundred twenty 
miles above, where preparations were made to put the 

188 The narrative of this expedition is in Colonel Leavenworth's official 
report, dated October 20, Missouri Intelligencer, December 2, 1823. 

138 A mile below the present city of Chambersburg, S. Dak. 

137 Ashley to Colonel O'Fallon, dated Fort Brasseaux, July 19, 1823, in 
United States Senate, op. cit. The location of Fort Brasseaux is uncertain. 
Se Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. iii, 953. 

Explorations of William Ashley 79 

camp and his eighty men into military shape against the 
arrival of the troops. 138 

On reaching the camp, about the first of August, 
Colonel Leavenworth accepted the tender of Ashley's 
services. His men were divided into two companies 
of about forty each, officered as follows: Jedediah 
Smith 139 and Hiram Scott, captains; Hiram Allen and 
George C. Jackson, lieutenants; Charles Cunningham 
and Edward Rose, ensigns; Fleming, surgeon; Thomas 
Fitzpatrick, quartermaster; William Sublette, sergeant- 
major. The contingent furnished by Major Pilcher, 
comprising one company, was added to the Indian 
forces and the whole placed under the command of 
Pilcher. He named his officers as follows, Henry Van- 
derburgh, captain of the whites, Angus McDonald, 
captain of the Indians, Moses B. (?) Carson, first lieu- 
tenant, and William (?) Gordon, second lieutenant. 
After some delay, occasioned by the Saone and Hunk- 
papa Sioux, who "wished them to come to a feast for 
they had killed a heap of dogs," but who were finally 
induced to postpone feasting till after fighting, on the 
eighth of August, they reached a point fifteen or sixteen 
miles below the Ankara villages, where they encamped. 

138 Letter of Ashley to O'Fallon, in United States Senate, op. cit. 

139 Smith must have traveled constantly after the battle of June 2. He 
had been despatched to join Henry, had descended the river with him, re- 
joining Ashley about the twentieth of June. He seems then to have has- 
tened down to St. Louis and to have got back again to Ashley's camp about 
the first of August. A letter from Major-general Gaines, commanding the 
Western Department, dated St. Louis, August 15, 1823, contains the follow- 
ing, "A Mr. Smith, who came down with the proceeds of the trappers and 
hunters of General Ashley from the mouth of the Yellowstone, gives also some 
verbal news to the following effect, viz.: He left the Yellowstone with Mr. 
Henry, with all the party under him, except twenty men left in the fort at 
the mouth of the Yellowstone, proceeded to join General Ashley at the mouth 
of the Shyan [Cheyenne] river. . . Mr. Smith informs me that Col. 
Leavenworth was progressing on very well and expects to accomplish the 
object of his movement." - United States Senate, op. cit. 

8o The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Next day, the Sioux cavalry pushing ahead to skirmish, 
met a party of Arikaras and engaged them in a hotly 
contested encounter near their villages. The main force, 
coming up behind the Sioux, met parties of the latter 
returning to the rear with a number of horses which 
they had captured. Major Pilcher, finding the enemy 
in considerable force, though fifteen of them had al- 
ready been slain, 140 asked for instant reinforcements. 141 
This induced Colonel Leavenworth to reform his en- 
tire line, which was now massed at one point. 

In the new formation, General Ashley with his two 
companies was placed on the extreme right, resting on 
the river, while to the left were stationed five compan- 
ies of the Sixth Regiment and on the extreme left, a 
company of riflemen. This alignment was quickly 
made, and the order at once given to advance. A 
charge on the villages was impossible because the Sioux 
auxiliaries, still ahead of the whites, were keeping up 
their fire. When the Arikaras saw the main body of 
troops advancing to support the Sioux, they broke from 
their hiding places, which were nothing but rudely 
constructed and partially covered trenches, and fled, the 
Sioux firing on them as they ran toward the shelter of 
their villages. Colonel Leavenworth then advanced 
his men to within three or four hundred yards of the 
villages, where he halted to await the arrival of the 
boat conveying the artillery, taking the precaution, how- 
ever, to send Captain Riley ahead with his company to 
engage the Arikaras in their villages. Meanwhile, the 

140 Missouri Intelligencer, September 9, 1823. Chittenden [American Fur 
Trade, vol. ii, 592] says thirteen. Colonel Leavenworth in his "Report" [Mis- 
souri Intelligencer, December 2, 1823] says ten. The casualty list furnished 
by Smith, Jackson, and Sublette gives fourteen. See Superintendent of In- 
dian Affairs. Letter Book, 299, Kansas Historical Society Mss. 

141 Report of Colonel Leavenworth, October 20, 1823, in the Missouri 
Intelligencer, December 2, 1823. 

Explorations of William Ashley 81 

Sioux amused themselves by cutting up the slain Ari- 
karas and attaching cords to the detached arms, legs, 
hands, and feet, which they then dragged about over 
the ground. Just before sundown the artillery arrived 
and it was decided to camp for the night, postponing an 
organized attack till the next day. 

On the morning of the tenth, the attack was opened 
by artillery fire under direction of Lieutenant Morris, 
who was inadequately supported by Sergeant Perkins 
with one of the six-pounders from a position within one 
hundred yards of the Ankara barricades, but at too 
high an elevation to be effective. At the same time, 
the infantry advanced to within three hundred yards 
and fired one volley "to discharge their guns which had 
been loaded for some time." Inasmuch as this com- 
bined infantry and artillery attack had accomplished 
nothing, Colonel Leavenworth undertook to investigate 
the strength of the Indian positions with the hope of be- 
ing able to carry them by storm. Meanwhile, to create 
a diversion, Ashley was ordered to attack the lower 
and smaller village. Taking a position in a ravine, 
within twenty paces of the village, he opened a brisk 
fire. Leavenworth, however, believed a charge would 
be unsuccessful unless supported by the Sioux auxilia- 
ries. The latter, declining to abandon their devastation 
and robbery of the Arikara cornfields, refused to coop- 
erate, and the charge was, accordingly abandoned. The 
Sioux were then notified that it had been decided to 
withdraw from the upper village. They were also ad- 
vised to retire from the cornfields in order "to save 
their stragglers from the tomahawks of the Arika- 
ras." As it was now well on in the afternoon, orders 
were given for the men to retire to eat 

142 Missouri Intelligencer, September 9, 1823. 

82 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Not long after, Colonel Leavenworth left his cabin, 
where he had gone for lunch, to consult with Ashley 
and Pilcher. In the midst of their conversation an 
opportunity seemed to offer for opening negotiations 
with the enemy. A Sioux, observed in parley with an 
Ankara, was instructed to inform him that, if his peo- 
ple wished to discuss terms of peace, they should at 
once send out their chiefs. Soon, ten or twelve Indians 
were observed approaching, and a preliminary inter- 
view was opened. Colonel Leavenworth informed the 
Indians at the start that an essential of peace would be 
the restoration of Ashley's property, the giving of hos- 
tages, and assurances of good behavior for the future. 
Some bickering ensued in which the Arikaras asserted 
that, as most of the horses had been slain, they could 
only restore other property. Colonel Leavenworth 
dwelt at some length on the power of the United States, 
of which, however, up to now, the Indians had seen no 
striking evidence. The pipe of peace was produced, 
and passed the rounds till it came to Joshua Pilcher, 
who at first declined it, but, urged by Leavenworth, at 
last consented to smoke. His reluctance produced a 
noticeable effect on the Arikaras, who had been in- 
formed that Pilcher was the most prominent of the 
whites. On the conclusion of the interview, when 
Leavenworth undertook to select his hostages, a disturb- 
ance ensued, shots were exchanged, and the Indians 
retired to their villages. 

Perhaps the most deplorable result of the campaign 
up to this point was the effect produced on the Sioux. 
They had joined the expedition with the expectation 
of procuring a quantity of plunder and with the firm 
conviction that so determined an expedition, sanctioned 
by the Great Father, himself, would promptly and ef- 

Explorations of William Ashley 83 

fectually efface their enemies. They had borne the 
brunt of the attack on the ninth and tenth, but, at the 
moment of victory, were warned "to save their strag- 
glers from the tomahawks of the Arikaras." They had 
had enough. During the night of the tenth to eleventh, 
having stolen six government mules and seven of Ash- 
ley's horses, which they loaded with corn gathered in 
the fields of the Arikaras, they "made a precipitate 
movement no one knows whither." 143 

Next day, negotiations were resumed on the appear- 
ance of Chief Little Soldier, a traitorous savage, who 
had warned Ashley of his danger in June. He ex- 
plained that the Indians had been alarmed at the action 
of Pilcher the previous evening, whereupon Leaven- 
worth assured him that in, the matter of making peace, 
Pilcher had no choice but to abide by the terms agreed 
upon. This seemed to satisfy the Indians, who soon af- 
ter despatched several other chiefs to negotiate a treaty. 
Colonel Leavenworth, anxious now apparently to shift 
the responsibility, appealed to Pilcher as sub-Indian 
agent to assist or at least to prepare a draft of the treaty. 
He declined, however. Leavenworth then appealed to 
Andrew Henry, a special sub-agent, but "he politely 
replied that it was a matter in which he felt himself 
wholly incompetent to act as his powers were for a 
special purpose." 144 There was nothing left for Leav- 
enworth to do but draw up the treaty himself. The 
final instrument was simple, embodying merely the 
three essentials insisted upon the previous day, viz: (i) 
the restoration by the Arikaras of "the arms taken from 

143 The Missouri Intelligencer ; September 9, 1823, says "all the horses be- 
longing to the United States troops and ten of those belonging to General 
Ashley's company." Compare Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. ii, 

144 Colonel Leavenworth, "Report," in Missouri Intelligencer, December 
9, 1823. 

The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Ashley's party and such other articles of property as 
might remain in their hands which were obtained from 
Gen. Ashley in exchange for horses;" (2) promises by 
the Indians that the navigation of the Missouri should 
be free and unobstructed and that all Americans duly 
authorized to enter their country should be treated by 
them with civility; (3) an exchange of mutual expres- 
sions of friendship and goodwill. 145 The treaty was 
signed by eleven Indians, five army officers, and by 

As the campaign was now ended, Colonel Leaven- 
worth four days later, ordered the withdrawal of his 
force. The total number engaged on the ninth had 
been about one thousand one hundred whites, with aux- 
iliaries, against six hundred to eight hundred Arikara 
warriors with some three thousand to four thousand 
men, women, and children. 146 After the withdrawal 
of the Sioux, on the night of the tenth, the American 
force must have been reduced by half. Aside from the 
casualties of the first day, inflicted by the Sioux, the 
Arikaras suffered altogether the loss of only about thir- 
ty, including women and children. The American 
losses were even more insignificant, consisting of but 
two whites slightly wounded and of two Sioux killed 
and seven wounded. The cost of the expedition was 
about two thousand dollars. 

The expedition had had two objects in view, the 
first immediate, and the other ultimate. The immedi- 
ate object had been to clear the way for General Ashley 
and to secure the restoration of his property. In this, 
the expedition had succeeded. The ultimate object had 

145 The treaty in full is printed in the Missouri Intelligencer, November 
18, 1823. 

146 This is Chittenden's estimate based on a study of the sources. Chitten- 
den, American Fur Trade, vol. ii, 591. 

Explorations of William Ashley 85 

been to impress on the Indians respect for the strength 
of the American arms and, in a measure, to seek re- 
venge for the severe losses suffered by the trappers and 
Indian traders. Here the expedition failed utterly. 
The Sioux had abandoned the undertaking in disgust. 
The Arikaras, not having been defeated and having 
observed the extent to which the whites relied on their 
Sioux auxiliaries, had no reason to respect the power 
of the American military. Despite the peace treaty, 
they did not hesitate to massacre several parties of trap- 
pers near the Mandan villages that very summer and 
the following winter to commit other outrages in the 
Platte country. 

Perhaps Joshua Pilcher did not put it too strongly 
when he wrote to Colonel Leavenworth (who had 
charged him with the burning of the Arikara villages, 
an unfortunate event that occurred the day of the with- 
drawal of troops, but., for which Pilcher seems not in 
the least to have been to blame). 

You came to restore peace and tranquillity to the country and to 
leave an impression which would insure its continuance. Your 
operations have been such as to produce the contrary effect and 
to impress the different Indian tribes with the greatest possible 
contempt for the American character. You came (to use your 
own language) to "open and make good this great road," instead 
of which you have by the imbecility of your conduct and opera- 
tions created and left impassable barriers. 147 

As the summer was well advanced Ashley and Henry 
decided to push operations into the upper country as 
rapidly as possible in order to take full advantage of the 
fall hunt. Ashley returned to St. Louis, as he had done 
the year before, while Andrew Henry with most of the 

147 Pilcher to Leavenworth, quoted by Chittenden, American Fur Trade, 
vol. ii, 606. In reviewing the campaign, Chittenden, while scoring Leaven- 
worth for his failure to achieve the ultimate object of the expedition, fails to 
credit him with having accomplished its immediate aim. 

86 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

men directed his course inland up the valley of Grand 
River and thence across country to the mouth of the 
Yellowstone, where he proposed to winter. 148 

The names of some of those who accompanied the 
expedition are recoverable. Altogether they formed 
one of the most remarkable groups of mountain men 
ever brought together. Some were experienced trad- 
ers of the older generation, including Andrew Henry 
and Edward Rose, the latter having been a companion 
of Ezekiel Williams, during the first stretch of his re- 
markable wanderings in the interior, and subsequently 
one of the overland Astoria party as far as the conti- 
nental divide. Rose had also dwelt for a time among 
the Arikaras. 149 Louis Vasquez of a family long asso- 
ciated with the trade, and probably a member of the ex- 
pedition of the previous year, was also with the party. 
Another man of 1822 was James Bridger, afterwards 
Vasquez's partner, and one of the ablest mountain men 
of the period. William L. Sublette was a member and 
possibly one or more of his brothers. 1 " Fresh from the 
states and about to receive their first taste of mountain 
life were Hugh Glass, Thomas Fitzpatrick, David E. 
Jackson, Seth Grant, and Jedediah S. Smith. 151 The 

148 Cooke, P. St. George. Scenes and Adventures in the Army (Philadel- 
phia, 1857), 137. 

148 Leavenworth, "Report," Missouri Intelligencer, December 9, 1823. 

150 St Louis Reveille, March x, 1847. 

1K1 It is only from accounts of Hugh Glass's marvelous adventures on 
this expedition that its main outline can be reconstructed. A native of 
Pennsylvania, Glass had drifted to St. Louis, where he joined Ashley's second 
expedition. He was slightly wounded in the first engagement with the 
Arikaras. After the Leavenworth campaign, he continued toward the moun- 
tains with Henry. On the evening of the fifth day of their journey, Glass 
was attacked by a grizzly bear and horribly mangled. It was necessary for 
Henry to hurry on, and, accordingly, two men, Fitzgerald and a youth of 
some seventeen or eighteen years, were left to care for Glass until he should 
die or recover sufficiently to move, neither of which he showed any inclin- 
ation of doing. His attendants, however, confident that in the end he must 

Explorations of William Ashley 87 

wanderings of this group during the next ten or fifteen 
years cover the entire west from the Missouri to the 
Pacific and from Canada to Chihuahua. It was the most 
significant group of continental explorers ever brought 

succumb, cravenly decided to abandon him, taking with them his rifle and 
all his other belongings. Hastening on to join Henry, they reported Glass's 
death. On discovering his plight, Glass made a new resolve to recover if 
only to have vengeance on his cowardly companions. Living for some time 
on berries and spring-water, he finally pulled himself together sufficiently to 
crawl on his hands and knees. He set out and, gradually recovering enough 
strength to walk, struck across country toward Fort Kiowa on the Missouri, 
about one hundred miles distant. Reaching this post after untold hardships, 
he soon joined a party of trappers, probably of the Missouri Fur Company, 
bound for the Yellowstone. Undertaking to make a short cut alone by 
crossing overland to Tilton's Fork, instead of following the bends of the 
river, he again barely saved his life, while all the rest of the party were 
slain by the Arikaras. Unaware of danger, Glass, on approaching Fort 
Tilton, saw a group of Indians, whom he recognized as having been among 
his late enemies at the villages. Unable to flee from them, he was in grave 
danger of capture when two Mandans galloped up. One of them shouted 
to Glass to mount behind him, and away they dashed to the fort Deter- 
mined still on vengeance, Glass left Fort Tilton and set out alone up the 
Yellowstone toward the mouth of the Big Horn, where he knew Henry's 
men would be stationed for the winter. After thirty-eight days' wandering, 
he discovered them, but only to find that his sworn enemy, the elder of the 
two men who had deserted him, had gone down the river. The younger 
he forgave out of pity for his youth. Still seeking revenge, he left winter 
quarters to convey dispatches to Fort Atkinson, After another series of 
marvelous adventures, he reached his destination in January, 1824, only to 
find that the faithless Fitzgerald had enlisted in the army. Glass perforce 
decided to forgive him. Nothing further is known of Fitzgerald. Tradi- 
tion has it that the younger of Glass's companions was James Bridger. 
Glass's career after this date is uncertain. He was at Fort Union about 
1830 but was finally slain by his old enemies, the Arikaras, in the winter 
of 1832-1833. There is a naive and charming account of Glass's adventures 
with Henry's party in the Missouri Intelligencer, June 18, 1825. More 
elaborate accounts are contained in Cooke's Scenes and Adventures, 137-150. 
A brief narrative is in Sage's Rocky Mountain Life (Boston, 1860), 159 ff. 
Sage erroneously states, however, that Glass was living in Taos, in 1843. 
See also Maximilian [Prince of Wied]., Travels in North America, in 
Thwaites, Early Western Travels, vol. xxii, 294.; vol. xxiii, 197; vol. 
xxiv, 1 02 ff. For a critical account see Chittenden, American Fur Trade, 
vol. ii, 698 ff. The story of Glass's adventures has been recently done into 
verse by John G. Neihardt, The Song of Hugh Glass (New York, 1915). 

88 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Misfortune still attended the luckless Henry. He 
had scarcely left the Mandans when he was attacked 
by the Arikaras once more, suffering on this occasion 
the loss of two men. 152 A little further on, Hugh Glass 
was nearly torn to pieces by a grizzly bear and two men 
had to be detached to remain with him, while the re- 
mainder hastened on toward the Yellowstone. There, 
they were again attacked by Indians, whom they took 
to be Gros Ventres, losing four more men. 158 On ar- 
riving at the post, Henry discovered that twenty-two 
of his horses had been stolen by the Blackfeet and As- 
siniboins. Not long after he lost seven more. Con- 
vinced of the futility of remaining in a region so hos- 
tile, he decided to push up the Yellowstone toward the 
mouth of the Big Horn. On the way he fell in with a 
party of Crows who much to his relief sold him forty- 
seven horses. He continued to the forks, where he pre- 
pared to winter, probably in the vicinity of the aban- 
doned posts of Manuel Lisa and of the Missouri Fur 

During the course of the winter and spring, groups 
of trappers were sent out in various directions to oper- 
ate in the newly reopened territory. Some of them 
trapped in the vicinity of the Yellowstone and Big 
Horn, an area directly tributary to their post, and, 
though worked for a number of years, still rich in 
beaver. Other parties went northwest toward the land 
of the Blackfeet, where peltries were plentiful and 
danger imminent. Another group of sixteen, com- 
manded by Thomas Fitzpatrick and Jedediah Smith, 

152 J. Anderson and A. Neil, "Casualty List" furnished by Smith, Jackson, 
and Sublette, Superintendent Indian Affairs, Letter Book, 300, Kansas His- 
torical Society Mss. 

183 "Decharle, Trumble (two others, names not recollected)," "Casualty 
List," - Idem. Compare Benton, Speech in the Senate, 29. 

Explorations of William Ashley 

had been detached in the fall to operate in the Crow 
country. On their way thither Smith had been at- 
tacked by a grizzly bear and seriously injured. Like 
Hugh Glass he had to be left behind. His lot was eas- 
ier, however, for soon after his mishap, he was joined 
by Thomas Fitzpatrick with the main body of the party 
who were traveling in company with Colonel Keemle 
of the Missouri Fur Company, one of the refugees who 
had escaped the attack by the Blackfeet the previous 
spring. By this time Smith had recovered sufficiently 
to travel. The entire company hastened to the Big 
Horn, which they followed down to winter quarters. 154 
With the opening of spring, efforts were made to 
push forward operations in the more remote portions 
of the mountain country. 155 A small detachment was 
sent down to Fort Atkinson in February, and the spring 
hunt probably began soon after. During Fitzpatrick's 
sojourn among the Crows, the previous fall, he had 
learned of a pass across the Rockies, through which he 
could easily take his band of trappers to streams on the 
other side. This was the South Pass. Accordingly, 
in the spring of 1824, he led his men up the Big Horn 
to Wind River, where he left his poorer horses in the 
care of the Crows and set out for the mountains. Af- 
ter some days of difficult travel "they reached the im- 
portant highway through which the major led his troop 

154 "Solitaire" [pseudonym of John S. Robb], "Major Fitzpatrick, the Dis- 
coverer of the South Pass," in St. Louis Reveille, March i, 1847. The 
Reveille was edited by Colonel Keemle, mentioned above, which makes this 
article of considerable value, as all its statements were subject to correction 
by a participant in the events described. For a sketch of Colonel Keemle 
see Edwards's Great West, 171 ff. 

155 "Several causes, however, combined to confine the operations to the 
Missouri below the Great Falls and to the waters of the Yellowstone until 
the spring of i824,"-Pilcher, Joshua. "Report," St. Louis, December i, 1831, 
in United States Senate, Executive Documents, 22d congress, ist session, 
vol. ii, no. 90. 

90 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

of pioneers down upon the Big Sandy and thence to 
Green River." 168 Andrew Henry, the commander-in- 
chief, probably accompanied the expedition. 
Joshua Pilcher reported, 

In the spring of that year [1824], the gentleman in charge of 
the expedition, crossed the mountains, and fell into the waters of 
the Colorado (then supposed to be the Rio del Norte) which, 
together with a large section of the country to the west of them, 
were found to be very rich in furs. 1 " 

The writer in the Reveille comments on the wealth of 
furs the new country afforded, enabling the party to ac- 
cumulate large packs in a few weeks. 158 Andrew Henry, 
after remaining only "a short time, left the party for 
St. Louis" to take down the peltries collected and to 
procure fresh supplies for the men left in the moun- 
tains. 159 

The route of Henry's return can not be determined 
positively, but it seems almost certain that he made his 
way eastward from Green River through the South 
Pass by the same road he followed in the spring, and 
that he then turned north, following the Big Horn and 
Yellowstone to the Missouri, whence he proceeded by 
boat to St. Louis, where he arrived "in the early part 
of the fall." 160 After disposing of his furs, he conclud- 
ed his business relations with Ashley, definitely and 
permanently withdrawing from the fur trade. He had 
intended to return with supplies but, says Pilcher, it 
was "his partner [Ashley, who] set out with a party of 
men and the outfit required, [and] crossed the moun- 
tains in the spring following." 161 Lack of financial 

156 St Louis Reveille, March i, 1847. 

157 Pilcher, Joshua. "Report," in United States Senate, op. cit. Compare 
Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 271. 

158 St Louis Reveille, March i, 1847. 

Pilcher, "Report," in United States Senate, op. cit. 
100 _ idem. 

iafl Compare Ross, "Journal of the Snake River Expedition, 1824," in 

Explorations of William Ashley 91 

success probably explains Henry's withdrawal at this 
point. He had met with one series of misfortunes af- 
ter another ever since he entered the mountains and, 
although the prospect must have seemed brighter after 
the discovery of the richly stocked transmontane 
streams, nevertheless, the net situation from the finan- 
cial standpoint was far from encouraging. 162 His place 
seems to have been taken in large measure by Jedediah 
S. Smith. 163 

Meanwhile, during the spring and summer of 1824, 
the parties of trappers left in the mountains continued 
their operations. The division commanded by Fitz- 
patrick were so busily engaged trapping the myriad 
tributaries of upper Green River that it is said they 
gave only passing notice to the theft of all their horses 
by a wandering tribe of Snake Indians. Only after he 
had collected a sufficient quantity of furs, did Fitz- 
patrick conclude that it was time to hunt their mounts. 
Setting out in the direction pursued by the Indians, they 
hurried on into a destitute and unfamiliar country un- 
til they reached the savages' encampment. Recovering 
their horses by night, they stealthily hastened away to 
put themselves beyond all reach, should an attempt be 
made to follow them. 

With their packs of beaver, they then started east- 
ward through the South Pass to the Sweetwater, where, 

Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xiv, 385. Chittenden [American 
Fur Trade, vol. i, 272] in stating that Henry left St. Louis, October 21, 
1823, with a new expedition for the mountains is mistaken. 

162 Chittenden [American Fur Trade, vol. i, 272] states that "the ex- 
pedition of 1823 was on the whole successful" but this can scarcely be sub- 
stantiated. N. J. Wyeth, in a letter written ten years later, stated that the 
Ashley-Henry ventures to this point [1824] had not been sucessful and that 
Ashley's credit had been seriously impaired. Young, F. G. Sources of Ore- 
gon History, vol. i, 74. Joshua Pilcher also stated that their business, to the 
spring of 1824, had been unprofitable. See United States Senate, op. cit. 

168 Compare Thwaites, Early Western Travels, vol. xix, 237, footnote. 

92 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

by previous arrangement, they met Jedediah Smith on 
his way to the Green River country and the Columbia 
Basin beyond. Having constructed skin boats on the 
Sweetwater, Fitzpatrick embarked down stream for the 
North Platte and the Missouri, the first white man to 
navigate these upper waters. All went well until they 
reached the mouth of the Sweetwater. Here they found 
themselves caught by the rapid current and swirled 
along into the dangerous canon between the mouth of 
the Sweetwater and Goat Island. At the very spot, 
where, eighteen years later in company with Fremont, 
Fitzpatrick was caught by the rapids and upset with 
the loss of journals and instruments, a similar misfor- 
tune now befell him. 164 The rude boats were instantly 
capsized and the precious cargo flung into the raging 
stream. By great exertions, however, the men recover- 
ed a sufficient quantity of Fitzpatrick's furs to square 
his account with Ashley, who had outfitted him. Cach- 
ing the rescued furs and leaving most of his men, Fitz- 
patrick hastened on down the valley of the Platte to 
Fort Atkinson, where, on his arrival, he despatched a 
report to Ashley recounting the successful spring hunt, 
the discovery of the South Pass, the descent of the 
Sweetwater to the North Platte, and the late disaster." 5 
Having obtained horses at Fort Atkinson and accom- 
panied by Robert Campbell and "Jim" Beckwourth, he 
turned back in September or October to recover his 

IB* "Eighteen years previous to this time, as I have subsequently learned 
from himself, Mr. Fitzpatrick, somewhere above on this river had em- 
barked with a valuable cargo of beaver. Unacquainted with the stream, 
which he believed would conduct him safely to the Missouri, he came unex- 
pectedly into this canon, where he was wrecked with the total loss of his 
furs." - Fremont, J. C. Report, of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky 
Mountains (Washington, 1845), 73. 

168 St. Louis Reveille, March i, 1847. This, presumably, was the first 
word that Ashley had received from the mountains, as it is unlikely that 
Henry, by his more circuitous route, had as yet reached the settlements. 

Explorations of William Ashley 93 

furs and bring in the men he had left behind him. 166 
Before the first of November he was back at Fort At- 

The advance of Fitzpatrick in the spring to Green 
River and his return across the mountains by the same 
route makes him, after the returning Astorians, the dis- 
coverer of the South Pass. 167 To Etienne Provot, 168 
however, has been given this distinction. Like Fitz- 
patrick, he was virtually a free trapper, receiving his 
outfit from Ashley, to whom he was under the obliga- 
tion of disposing of his furs. Tradition has it that 
Provot, in the fall of 1823, preceded Fitzpatrick 
through the South Pass to the "Pacific waters." 169 
Proof is lacking either way but some doubt may be cast 
on the tradition. In the first place, it is certain that 
Provot and LeClerc, his partner, 170 operated during the 
year 1823 in the vicinity of the Mandan villages, 171 
though it is possible that he spent only the spring in 
that neighborhood. More to the point is the fact that 

166 Bonner [The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth (New 
York, 1856), 35] gives the date as September and adds that "after several 
days travel, they found them and returned." It is likely that he antedates 
Fitzpatrick's return for his men as he was certainly back at Fort Atkinson 
by October 26. "Oct. 26. Fitzpatrick and party have come in and brot beav- 
er." -James Kennerly, "Journal," Kennerly Mss., Missouri Historical Society. 

167 This distinction is given him in the article in the St. Louis Reveille, 
cited above, and by Francois des Montagnes [pseudonym?] in an article en- 
titled "The Plains" in the Western Journal (St. Louis, 1852), vol. ix, 435, 
footnote. It is interesting to observe that both the Astorians and Fitzpatrick 
followed the route from west to east. 

les p or a discussion of the spelling of this name see Harris, The 
Catholic Church in Utah (Salt Lake City, 1909), 261. 

169 Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 271. Dodge, G. M. Biograph- 
ical Sketch of James Bridger (New York, 1905), 6 ff. Dodge states that 
Bridger accompanied him. 

170 "Casualty List," Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Letter Book, 1830- 
1832, Kansas Historical Society Mss. Perhaps the same LeClerc or LeClair 
employed by Ezekiel Williams in 1812. See Missouri Historical Society, 
Collections, vol. iv, 206. 

171 "Casualty List," op. cit. 

94 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Henry and his party, by whom Provot was almost cer- 
tainly outfitted, did not leave the Ankara villages till 
the middle of August of that year and did not reach 
their headquarters at the mouth of the Big Horn till 
some time in September. 172 To have crossed from the 
mouth of the Big Horn to Green River at so late a 
season of the year would have been, to say the least, a 
hazardous undertaking and not likely to be attempted. 
Other evidence of a rather different character also 
points against his alleged discovery. Provot lost eight 
men on the Colorado [Green River] in i824. 17S The 
next year he lost a man on Weber's fork 174 and in April 
of the same year he was in the Uintah Mountains. 175 
To have discovered the South Pass in 1823, he must 
have pushed into the Green River or Interior Basin 
country in the fall of that year and have remained there 
till the spring of 1825, when Ashley joined him near 
Weber River, a difficult undertaking after the loss of 
ten or more men and without access to fresh supplies. 
The only alternative is to suppose that he crossed the 
South Pass in the fall of 1823, wintered, let us say, in 
Green River Valley, where his eight men were killed, 
received at that point fresh supplies from Henry and 
Fitzpatrick, of which, however, no mention is made, 
and then remained another year in this vicinity or fur- 
ther west. It is more reasonable to assume that Provot 
and LeClerc set out in the summer of 1824 w ^ tn tne 
other divisions of Ashley's men, who crossed the moun- 

172 G. M. Dodge [Biographical Sketch of James Bridger, 6], says that he 
reached the mouth of the Yellowstone August 23. He then proceeded up 
that stream to the Big Horn. 

178 William Gordon ["Report to Lewis Cass," St. Louis, October 3, 1831, 
in Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Letter Book, 1830-1832, Kansas His- 
torical Society Mss.] states that he lost seven men on the "waters of Uta 
lake" [Great Salt Lake]. 

174 "Casualty List," he. cit. 

178 See page 158. 

Explorations of William Ashley 95 

tains that season, pushed on to Green River and thence 
south and west to the waters of the Interior Basin, 
where he remained for the fall and spring hunts [1824- 
1825]. Until more positive evidence is brought for- 
ward in support of Provot's claims, the distinction of 
having discovered the South Pass may rest with Thom- 
as Fitzpatrick, provided, of course, that the returning 
Astorians missed the actual pass itself. 176 

During the summer and fall of 1824, the Ashley men 
were divided into two groups and both despatched be- 
yond the mountains to operate in that recently opened 
country. Jedediah Smith commanded the smaller di- 
vision, comprising only six men and William L. Sub- 
lette probably headed the other which was somewhat 
larger. With the latter went also James Bridger, one, 
Williams, one, Marshall and a score of others. The 
two divisions seem to have set out together and to have 
met Thomas Fitzpatrick on the Sweetwater as he was 
returning. 1 " Provot and LeClerc with their men may 
also have accompanied them a portion of the distance. 
Following the great primitive highway soon to be 
known the country over as the Oregon Trail, they 
emerged from the South Pass, striking the waters of 
the two Sandys, tributaries of Green River. Here they 

Smith with his men crossed from the head waters of 
Green River to the Lewis fork of the Columbia [Snake 
River], which they followed down for a hundred miles 
or so, and then struck across country to Clark's fork of 
the Columbia. 178 Their route was probably the re- 

176 See page 39. 

177 St. Louis Reveille, March i, 1847. 

178 Compare page 45. Ross, Alexander. "Journal of the Snake River 
Expedition, 1824," in Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xiv, 385. 
Ross, A. Fur Hunters of the Far West, vol. ii, 127. 

96 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

verse of that of the returning Astorians. 179 In the 
course of their wanderings, they secured a large quanti- 
ty of beaver on the streams tributary to Green and 
Snake Rivers, which they packed along with them. 

Late in September or early in October, they fell in 
with a party of Iroquois under command of one, Pierre, 
who had been detached, June 16, from the main Snake 
'River expedition of the Hudson's Bay Company, con- 
ducted this year by Alexander Ross. 180 These Indians 
were in a pitiful condition. In the course of their wan- 
derings they had penetrated far to the south of Snake 
River, probably as far as the Interior Basin, where they 
had believed themselves secure. A war party of Snakes, 
however, discovering them shortly before the Ameri- 
cans appeared, had robbed them not only of a consider- 
able portion of their furs but had stolen their traps and 
guns as well. Learning of their misfortune, Smith 
struck a shrewd bargain, by which he agreed to relieve 
them of their remaining furs, and, in return, to convey 
them, so the Iroquois themselves afterwards asserted, to 

179 The details of their course are given in Washington Hood's Original 
Draft of a Report of a Practicable Route for Wheeled Vehicles across the 
Mountains, written at Independence, August 12, 1839. He says, "After strik- 
ing the Colorado, or Green river, make up the stream toward its headwaters, 
as far as Horse creek, one of its tributaries, follow out this last mentioned 
stream to its source by a westerly course, cross the main ridge in order to 
attain Jackson's Little Hole, at the headwaters of Jackson's fork [Hoback 
River?]. Follow down Jackson's fork to its mouth and decline to the north- 
ward along Lewis's fork, passing through Jackson's Big Hole to about 
twelve miles beyond the Yellowstone Pass (sic), crossing on the route a 
nameless beaver stream. Here the route passes due west over another prong 
of the ridge, a fraction worse than the former, followed until it has at- 
tained the headwaters of Pierre's fork. Proceed down this stream, keeping 
on its north bank through Pierre's Hole, crossing the Big Teton, the battle- 
ground of the Blacksmith's fork; ford Pierre's fork eastward of the butte at 
its mouth and Lewis fork also, thence pass to the mouth of Lewis fork." - 
Missouri Historical Society, Hood Mss. 

180 Ross, A. Fur Hunters of the Far West, vol. ii, 124. Ross ["Jour- 
nal of the Snake River Expedition, 1824" in Oregon Historical Society, 
Quarterly, vol. xiv, 382] states that the Iroquois were despatched, June 7. 

Explorations of William Ashley 97 

the vicinity of the Three Tetons [Pierre's Hole] where 
they would meet Alexander Ross with the main body. 181 

On their arrival, Ross objected, probably with justi- 
fication, that, inasmuch as this was the first time Smith 
had ever entered this country, his services as a guide 
were scarcely worth the heavy price paid. He was 
convinced, in fact, that Smith had procured the beaver 
by promising the Iroquois fancy prices for them at 
Ashley's headquarters. 182 

Whatever may have been the actual terms of the 
transaction, Smith, having now secured the peltries 
amounting in all to nine hundred skins, which were 
deposited in two caches, proceeded with the combined 
party in the direction of Pierre's Hole. On their way, 
they fell in with a search party sent out by Ross to dis- 
cover the whereabouts of the Iroquois, which now guid- 
ed the Americans and the Indians to Ross's headquar- 
ters near the confluence of the Salmon and Pahsimari 
Rivers, Custer County, Idaho, where they arrived the 
fourteenth of October. 183 Here Smith interviewed 
Alexander Ross, who was impressed by the former's 
intelligence and natural leadership. Smith told his 
story of meeting the trappers, but, as Pierre had already 
given his version, Ross was left to form his own conclu- 
sions. The disagreement in their narratives confirmed 
him in his suspicion that a secret understanding had 
been entered into between his men and Smith. 184 

Fearing that a fate similar to that of the Iroquois 
might befall them, Smith and his six men determined 

181 Ross, A. Fur Hunters of the Far West, vol. ii, 128. 

182 Idem, vol. ii, 129. Ross, A. "Journal of the Snake River Expedi- 
tion, 1824" in Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xiv, 385. 

18S Idem, vol. xiv, 380, 385. Ross, A. Fur Hunters of the Far West, 
vol. ii, 127. 

* Idem, vol. ii, 129 ff. Ross, A. "Journal of the Snake River Ex- 
pedition, 1824," in Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xiv, 385. 

The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

not to risk turning back to their headquarters at this 
late season of the year but, instead, to accompany Ross 
and his party northward to the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany's post, Flathead House, in the vicinity of Thomp- 
son Falls, Sanders County, Montana. This would give 
him an opportunity to view a region, which no Ameri- 
cans since the Astorians had penetrated, and, also per- 
haps, to pick up much useful information concerning 
the extent and success of the British operations. 185 This 
part of his mission he performed with eminent success, 
learning from Alexander Ross and subsequently from 
Peter Skene Ogden, whom he met at Flathead House, 
that the British had some sixty men employed as trap- 
pers in the Snake country and that, in the previous four 
years, they had taken no fewer than eighty thousand 
beaver, weighing in all about one hundred sixty thous- 
and pounds. 186 

Before reaching Flathead House, Smith and his 
English companions felt the dangerous presence of the 
Blackfeet As they proceeded, rumors had come in 
from a party of Nez Perce Indians that Blackfeet were 
lurking in the vicinity of their line of march. Precau- 
tions were taken to prevent a sudden attack. As their 
road lay through a narrow defile, Ross sent about two 
score of his men ahead to explore the way, "taking 
care," as he said, "to have two of the Americans and 
the most troublesome of my own men among the par- 

186 Ross recorded Smith's arrival at rendezvous thus, "With these vaga- 
bonds [the Iroquois] arrived seven American trappers from the Bighorn 
River but whom I rather take to be spies than trappers," Oregon Historical 
Society, Quarterly, vol. xiv, 385. 

188 See page 157. Compare, also, Letter of W. H. Ashley to T. H. 
Benton, St. Louis, Nov. iz, 1827 [United States Senate, Executive Documents, 
2oth congress, zd session, vol. i, no. 67], in which Ashley gives the figures 
somewhat differently stating that Ogden "boasted" that the English had 
taken from the Snake country "85,000 beaver equal to 150,000." 

Explorations of William Ashley 99 

ty," presumably with the idea that these could best be 
spared if any sacrifice must be made. Passing this 
point in safety, they soon after discovered a party of 
Indians, whom they suspected were Blackfeet, but who 
insisted that they were Crows, and who fled precipitous- 
ly on the approach of the whites. Unable to engage 
them in parley, Ross and his men left them, thankful at 
having recovered, on the same day, a considerable num- 
ber of horses which had been stolen from their camp. 
The culprits had been caught red-handed but allowed 
to go without punishment, "for," said Ross, "depriving 
them of life would have done us no good, neither would 
it have checked horse stealing in these barbarous 
places." 187 All along their march to Flathead House, 
they were accompanied by the band of Nez Perces, who 
pointed out the sites of many a battle with the Black- 
feet. 188 

On the first of November, they crossed the Bitter Root 
Mountains and entered the Valley of Troubles [Ross's 
Hole], visited by Lewis and Clark nineteen years be- 
fore, and where Ross had been blockaded by snow the 
previous spring. 189 Hastening on, lest they be simi- 
larly delayed, they reached Flathead House by the end 
of the month. 190 Here Smith spent some weeks before 
he set out again for the South probably in company 
with Peter Skene Ogden and the outgoing Snake ex- 
pedition of 1824-1825. 

The importance of this first expedition of Smith lies 

187 Ross, A. Fur Hunters of the Far West, vol. ii, 137. 

IBS Idem, vol. ii, 133 ff. 

189 Thwaites, R. G. Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedi- 
tion, vol. iii, 52. Ross, op. cit., vol. ii, 20, 21, 139; "Journal of the Snake 
River Expedition, 1824" in Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xiv, 

374, 385- 

190 Ross, A. "Journal, Flathead Post, 1825," in Oregon Historical Society, 
Quarterly, vol. xiv, 386. Ibid., Fur Traders of the Far West, vol. ii, 140. 

ioo The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

in the fact that he was the first American, of whom there 
is definite information, since Lewis and Clark, to cross 
the continental divide within the area lying north and 
west of the Three Forks of the Missouri. He was the 
first since Andrew Henry, in 1810, to explore the Co- 
lumbia drainage area just south of the Three Forks, the 
country, that is to say, of Pierre's Hole and upper 
Salmon River. He was the first American since the 
Astorians to follow the course of Hoback River and to 
cross Jackson's Hole and the Tetons. He linked up 
and summarized the work that had been done by iso- 
lated groups of Americans before him, and extended 
American exploration of the Cordilleras from the South 
Pass to the North Pass of Lewis and Clark. 

Meanwhile the other division of Ashley's men, hav- 
ing abandoned Smith at Green River, began an explor- 
ation of the little known Interior Basin. Their route 
from Green River is uncertain but they probably fol- 
lowed that stream southward, trapping as they went, 
believing themselves, perhaps, on the upper reaches of 
the Rio Grande del Norte. As they proceeded, they 
probably sent out detachments westward to view the 
country lying beyond the low sprawling barren hills 
that constantly paralleled their course. 

If they investigated the country very far they must 
have been puzzled by its peculiar configuration, for 
there are few portions of the continent more confusing 
topographically. Not far to the east of Green River 
and south of the Wind River Mountains lies the South 
Pass, separating the Sweetwater branch of the Platte 
from the Sandy, a tributary of the Green. It bridges 
the almost imperceptible watershed dividing the waters 
of the Missouri-Mississippi system from those of the 
Gulf of California. To the west of upper Green River, 

Explorations of William Ashley 101 

only a low divide separates that stream from Big 
Gray's and Salt River, tributaries of the Snake and 
hence members of the Columbia drainage system. 
Only a little to the south of Big Gray's River, and 
flowing in precisely the same direction, is Bear Riv- 
er, an affluent of the Great Salt Lake and hence with- 
in the Interior Basin, and, like Big Gray's River, 
separated from the Green by an easy, though barren, 
divide. The headwaters of Bear River, moreover, is- 
suing from the angle formed by the Wasatch and Uin- 
tah Ranges are intimately entangled with the tributaries 
of Weber River, a direct affluent of the Great Salt 
Lake, and of Henry's fork, a western tributary of Green 
River. In other words, within a comparatively small 
area, not at all clearly defined by mountain barriers, 
rise streams which flow into the Atlantic by way of the 
Missouri, the Pacific by way of the Columbia, the Pa- 
cific by way of the Colorado and the Gulf of California, 
and into the Interior Basin, directly by way of Weber 
River and circuitously by Bear River. 191 

This complicated area would have been puzzling 
enough had its discoverers been burdened with no pre- 
conceived notions of geography, but their erroneous 
ideas made confusion worse confounded. The first 
Ashley contingent seems to have mistaken Green River 
for the upper waters of the Rio Grande, consequently 
believing themselves to be east of the continental divide 
and on streams emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. The 
men who followed in the fall of 1824 presumably 
labored under the same misapprehension, although 
Ashley, who came out next year, rightly suspected 

191 For physiographic maps of this area, see Fenneman, N. M. "Physio- 
graphic Boundaries within the United States," in The Association of Ameri- 
can Geographers, Annals (1914), vol. iv, 134. 

IO2 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Green River to be the Rio Colorado of the West. 192 
That Ashley's men might reach streams flowing into 
the Pacific, they would have. to cross the divide west of 
Green River. They would then reach, so they sup- 
posed, the Multnomah, or the Buenaventura, or the 
Rio S. Felipe, that hypothetical stream which for years 
was represented on maps of the west as flowing from the 
interior to the Pacific. The stream was called by a 
variety of names. To Ashley it was the Buenaventura, 
a direct tributary of the Multnomah, which, in turn, 
.was supposed to flow into the Columbia. 193 Searching 
for this river, his men explored the country west of 
Green River and, somewhere along their way, actually 

192 Chittenden [American Fur Trade, vol. i, 274] to the contrary not- 

198 The knowledge of the country west of the mountains, which Ashley 
and the intelligent men associated with him, such as Henry, Smith, and 
Fitzpatrick, possessed, was derived from the trappers and Indians whom 
they encountered and from the maps and atlases of the period. A reference 
to the latter will probably indicate the minimum of their information but 
it will serve to furnish the nomenclature and fundamental geographical con- 
ceptions to .which they would naturally adjust the information they derived 
from other sources. A number of American atlases were in circulation in 
Ashley's day from which I have selected three, with any one or all of which 
he may have been familiar: (i) Carey, M. General Atlas (Philadelphia, 
1814) ; (2) Melish, John. Map of the United States <unth the Contiguous 
British and Spanish Possessions (Philadelphia, 1816) ; (3) Darby, William. 
Map of the United States (New York, circa, 1818). (i) Represents the 
Rio Grande heading in the continental divide; just to the west, across the 
divide, heads the Rio Colorado; west of the divide there are no lakes, but, 
heading in the mountains a little north and west of the Colorado and the 
Rio Grande, is the Multnomah River flowing into the Columbia near the 
tatter's mouth. (2) Shows the headwaters of the Rio Grande just east of 
the continental divide, designating the uppermost branch, "Collier's river." 
Just west of Coltier's River and across the divide, heads the Rio Buenaven- 
tura flowing westward into an unnamed lake, emerging from which, to the 
west, flows a hypothetical river (unnamed) into the bay of San Francisco. 
North of this lake is still another (also unnamed), corresponding to the 
Lake Timpanogos of other maps, from which flows a river in a north- 
westerly direction, labelled the Multonmah, which joins the Columbia. (3) 
Shows the Rio Grande much as in (2), just to the west of which, across the 
divide, heads the Rio Buenaventura, flowing into Lake Timpanogos. 

Explorations of William Ashley 103 

crossed the divide, perhaps in the vicinity of Ham's 
fork, 194 striking Bear River or one of its tributaries 
[Smith's fork or Tullock's fork]. Bear River they fol- 
lowed down, thinking, no doubt, that they were on the 
Multnomah, then turned sharply west and south in 
southern Idaho until they found themselves in Cache 
or Willow Valley where they prepared to spend the 
winter. 195 On their way, one of the men was killed by 
the hand of a comrade on Bear River, and during the 
winter, another of the party, Marshall by name, was 
lost in Cache Valley. 196 

Etienne Provot, instead of accompanying the main 
body of Ashley's men and entering the Interior Basin 
by way of Bear River and Cache Valley, probably fol- 
lowed Green River until he came to one of its large 
eastward flowing tributaries, perhaps Black's fork. 
Following this, he would find an easy pass to the upper 
reaches of Bear River. By continuing west, he prob- 
ably struck one of the tributaries of Weber River. In 
general his route seems to have been that followed by 
the Union Pacific Railroad down Weber River, which, 
like Ashley the next spring, he probably assumed to be 
the Buenaventura. 197 At the mouth of the Weber, he 
reached Great Salt Lake, where seven of his men were 
killed by the Snake Indians and where he wintered. 198 

194 Possibly by "Subletted Cut-off." Sublette was a member of this 
group. Ham's fork was known to Ashley's men the following year. "Cas- 
ualty List," Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Letter Book, 1830-1832, 298, 
Kansas Historical Society Mss. 

195 Letter of Robert Campbell, St. Louis, April 4, 1857, in Warren, 
"Memoir," in Report of Explorations and Surveys for a Pacific Railroad 
(Washington, 1861), vol. xi, 35. 

196 "Casualty List," Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Letter Book, 1830- 
1832, 298 ff., Kansas Historical Society Mss. 

19T See page 152. Provot was certainly familiar with Weber River when 
Ashley met him in the spring of 1825, having lost a man on that stream the 
same year. Idem. 

m Idem. 

104 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

If it be true that Provot reached Great Salt Lake be- 
fore winter set in, he must be credited with its dis- 
covery. That distinction, however, was given by 
Robert Campbell to James Bridger. While the main 
body of Ashley's men were camped in Cache Valley, a 
dispute not unnaturally arose as to the outlet of Bear 
River. A wager was laid and Bridger was selected to 
follow its course. Louis Vasquez, who was afterwards 
his partner and intimate friend, is erroneously said to 
have accompanied him. 199 He descended the stream 
to the point where it passes through a canon from Cache 
Valley into Bear River Valley, near the present Cache 
Junction. On emerging from the canon, he is sup- 
posed to have discovered the Great Salt Lake. 200 Still 
following Bear River, it is said, he reached the borders 
of the lake, tasted the water, and, returning, reported 
his discovery to his companions. His statement that 
the water of the lake was salt induced the belief that 
he had found an arm of the Pacific Ocean. 201 

Early in the spring, Jedediah Smith arrived at the 
camp in Cache Valley, returning from his sojourn with 
the English at Flathead House. He probably accom- 
panied the Snake River expedition of 1824-1825, which 
had set out from that post, under command of Peter 

199 Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, D.C., February 25, 1860), 
citing the Sacramento Standard. This is disproved, however, by a letter of 
Louis Vasquez, St. Louis, December, 1824, in Missouri Historical Society, 
Vazquez Mss. 

200 Great Salt Lake is easily visible from the hills just above the canon 
of Bear River. 

201 Warren, op. '/., vol. xi, 35. It should be borne in mind, however, 
that, in 1826, Provot broke with the Ashley interests, to which Campbell, 
Sublette, Smith, and Jackson succeeded, and that, accordingly, Campbell might 
incline to overlook his claims. His insistence that it was James Bridger 
who discovered the Great Salt Lake perhaps points in this direction. For a 
discussion of Ogden's claims as discoverer of Great Salt Lake, see page 
4* ft 

Explorations of William Ashley 105 

Skene Ogden, five days before Christmas. 802 The route 
was, in general, that followed by Alexander Ross the 
previous year, up the Missoula River to the confluence 
of the Bitterroot and thence along the path first traced 
by Lewis and Clark, across the Bitter Root Mountains to 
Salmon River. 203 Where they spent the remainder of 
the winter and the spring or at what point Smith left 
them can not be positively determined. Perhaps the 
whole party proceeded as far south as Pierre's Hole. 
Detachments were sent off, one of which proceeded still 
farther south till it was met by some of Ashley's men, 
the following May, and by them induced to dispose 
of their furs. 204 Smith may have accompanied this di- 
vision for some distance and then, leaving it, have di- 
rected his course more to the west, for, before joining 
Ashley's men in Cache Valley, he "fell on the waters of 
the grand lake or Beaunaventura" [V], [Great Salt 
Lake]. 205 

The group which had wintered on Bear River, 
opened the spring hunt by trapping the waters of shel- 

202 Ogden had first entered the western country in October, 1823, when 
he met Ross in central Idaho. That winter he had probably remained at 
Spokane House. In the spring of 1824, with John Work, he journeyed 
down the Columbia to Fort George [Astoria], where he arrived May 13, 
returning in the course of the summer to Spokane House. Here he received^ 
his appointment as commander of the next Snake River expedition and, ac- 
cordingly, journeyed to Flathead House, where he arrived, November 26, 
1824. Elliott, T. C. "Peter Skene Ogden," in Oregon Historical Society, 
Quarterly, vol. xi, 244 ff. "1824, November, Friday 26, From Prairie de 
Chevaux, myself and party arrived at this place [Flathead House] in the 
afternoon, where terminated our voyage of ten months to the Snakes. Mr. 
Ogden and Mr. Dears, with people and outfit from Spokane reached this 
place only a few hours before us." -Ross, Alexander. "Journal of the Snake 
River Expedition, 1824," in Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xiv, 

203 Elliott, T. C. "Peter Skene Ogden," in Oregon Historical Society, 
Quarterly, vol. xi, 248. 

204 See page 107. 

205 See page 158. 

io6 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

tered Cache Valley. Into this valley from the east 
flow Blacksmith fork, Logan River, Smithfield fork, 
Strawberry Creek, and numerous smaller streams, all 
rich in beaver. To the west, beyond the Mendon 
Ridge, the trappers struck the lower reaches of Bear 
River and its final tributary, the Malade. 206 South- 
ward they operated along the western slopes of the 
Wasatch Mountains in the present Boxelder and Weber 
Counties, Utah, and as far as the Salt Lake Valley, al- 
ready familiar to Provot and Leclerc. Following 
James Bridger's examination of Great Salt Lake near 
the mouth of Bear River, no further effort seems to have 
been made this year to explore it. Bridger's visit must 
have convinced them all that the lake and i^s shores of- 
fered no very promising field for tjae prosecution of 
their business. South of Great Salt Lake, they prob- 
ably pushed as far as Utah Lake, which was certainly 
familiar to Ashley's men this year. 207 

By May, the united parties, comprising Smith's, Sub- 
lette's, and Provot's divisions, were in the vicinity of 
Great Salt Lake. On the twenty-fourth of that month, 
Johnson Gardner, one of Ashley's men, fell in with a 
detachment of Ogden's Snake River expedition. Og- 
den may have accompanied this detachment in person 
and then have turned north and east to the waters of 
the Missouri beyond the continental divide, for, on 
July 10, not seven weeks after the meeting between his 
men and the Americans, he sent a despatch to Spokane 
House from the "East Branch of the Missouri." This 
message reached John Work, in charge of affairs at 
Fort Oakanagan, on July 26, who recorded in his 

2oeogden ["Journal, 1828-1829," in Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, 
vol. xi, 391], while on this stream wrote, "It is strange that there should be 
beaver here as the Americans have been in this country for four years." 

2 7 See page 155. 

Explorations of William Ashley 107 

journal of that day, "A series of misfortunes have at- 
tended the party [Ogden's] from shortly after their de- 
parture, and, on the 24th. of May, they fell in with a 
party of Americans when twenty-three of the former 
deserted." 208 They not only deserted but took all their 
furs with them, disposing of them to Ashley's men just 
as Ross's Iroquois had sold out to Smith the previous 
fall. Again the inducement was the offer of a higher 
price for the peltries. 209 Johnson Gardner, who con- 
summated the transaction, may, like Provot, have been 
one of Ashley's free trappers. 210 He appears later in 
this role, and it is certain that Ashley had a number of 
such men associated with him at this period. 211 

The ethics of the transaction is questionable, although 
this sort of thing was being done constantly. A party 
of Hudson's Bay Company men had deserted in 1822, 
selling their furs to Americans on the Yellowstone, 212 
while only the fall before the high principled Smith 
had been party to a similar deal. Gardner's conduct, 
nevertheless, was condemned two years later by Sam- 
uel Tullock, one of Ashley's men, although his willing- 

208 Journal of John Work, quoted by T. C. Elliott, in "Peter Sken 
Ogden," in Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 248. Ashley places 
the number of deserters at twenty-nine. See page 156. 

209 The story that they were seduced by the distribution of liquor is un- 
substantiated. See letter of N. J. Wyeth in Young, op. at., vol. i, 73. 

210 Johnson Gardner was the avenger of Hugh Glass. See Maximilian 
[Prince of Wied], Travels in North America, in Thwaites, Early Western 
Travels, vol. xxiii, 197; vol. xxiv, 101 if. In 1832 he was a free trapper 
doing business with Smith, Jackson, and Sublette, successors to William H. 
Ashley, and with the American Fur Company at Fort Union. Extracts from 
his accounts are given in Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. iii, 941 ff. 
Compare Sublette Mss., carton 10, Missouri Historical Society. 

211 Compare Pilcher, "Report, 1831," in United States Senate, Executive 
Documents, 22d congress, ist session, vol. ii, no. 90. 

212 "Regarding our deserters of 1822, accounts do not agree. It is evident 
part of them reached the American post on the Yellowstone and Big Horn 
with much fur." Ross, Alexander. "Journal of the Snake River Expedition, 
1824," in Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xiv, 385. 

ib8 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

ness to do so may have been induced by his anxiety to 
secure certain favors from Ogden at the time. 218 Ash- 
ley himself, at any rate, is entirely exculpated, for he 
had not yet arrived in the country, although, when he 
reached rendezvous, in July, he was glad enough to 
accept the British furs. It seems evident, on the other 
hand, that the transaction took place quite unknown to 
Ogden. Certainly he was not a party to it directly, as 
has been intimated. 21 * Such conduct on his part would 
be entirely out of the question for he was a gentleman 
of high personal and business character and was un- 
swervingly loyal to the ancient corporation which he 
served. 218 

Within a month after Gardner's profitable encounter 
with the Hudson's Bay Company men, Ashley arrived 

218 "Monday, 24 December [1827], The American party of 6 joined us, 
their leader a man named Tullock, a decent fellow. He informed me his 
company would readily enter into agreement regarding deserters. He in- 
formed me the conduct of Gardner's at our meeting four years since has 
not been approved. . . I should certainly be shocked if any man of prin- 
ciple approved of such conduct as Gardner's." -Ogden, P.S. "Journal, 1827- 
1828," in Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 367. 

214 "There was in this neighborhood [Cache Valley] at the time, a 
party of Hudson Bay trappers under the leadership of the well known trader, 
Peter Skeen Ogden. They were in possession of a large quantity of beaver 
fur, variously estimated at from seventy to two hundred thousand dollars' 
worth. These furs, through some transaction now not positively known, 
came into Ashley's possession at an insignificant price -some say by looting 
a cache in which they were concealed, and some by voluntary sale to 
Ashley by Ogden to relieve the latter's necessities." - Chittenden, American 
Fur Trade, vol. i, 277. 

215 Ashley himself afterward testified to the quality of Ogden's character: 
"Mr. Tullock further states that some time after separating from Mr. Ogden 
and party, but while within about fifteen miles of his encampment, he, Mr. 
T. and party, were attacked by a large party of Black-feet Indians [1828] ; 
the result was the loss of three of his party, killed, about four thousand 
dollars' worth of beaver fur, forty horses, and a considerable amount of 
merchandise. Notwithstanding I do not believe from the idea I have of 
the character of Mr. Ogden, that he could dictate such conduct to the In- 
dians." -Ms. letter of Ashley to an unknown correspondent [Benton?], De- 
cember 26, 1828, Ashley Mss., Missouri Historical Society. 

Explorations of William Ashley 109 

in the mountains to conduct the first great rendezvous 
ever held by Americans beyond the continental divide. 

These Ashley expeditions of 1824-1825 mark a new 
chapter in the history of the western fur trade. Instead 
of operating in the region east of the mountains, ac- 
cessible by the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers, they 
had abandoned that entire area in the spring of 1824 
and, by the summer of that year, the whole company 
had been transferred to the waters of the three drainage 
areas beyond the mountains. For the first time since 
the ill-starred days of Astoria, American traders and 
trappers were making a concerted effort to extend their 
field of operations into the vast area drained by the 
"River of the West," which the British had monopo- 
lized since the naming of Fort George. Such a step 
had not been taken earlier largely because the South 
Pass, on the great midland route, had remained unused 
and unknown since Ramsay Crooks and Robert Stuart 
led through it, or near it, their dejected band of return- 
ing Astorians in the late fall of 1812. 

The only known way to the Columbia was by the 
northern passes, discovered and used by Lewis and 
Clark, and after them, by the Missouri Fur Company 
in its palmier days. But the northern passes were 
scarcely ways ; they were rather obstacles. Lofty and 
difficult in themselves, they presented a further danger 
to all whites, who undertook to cross because they lay in 
the area continually harassed by the implacable Black- 
feet. The disasters that had befallen Lisa's men at the 
Three Forks and, more recently, the Missouri Fur 
Company and Andrew Henry, rendered all efforts to 
conduct the trade beyond the mountains by this route 
too hazardous for profit. The utilization of the South 
Pass changed all this by opening up a road in a lower 

no The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

latitude and of gentler grades. The Crows and Snakes, 
moreover, who dwelt along the approaches to the South 
Pass, while occasionally unfriendly, maintained no such 
policy of uncompromising and unyielding hostility to 
the whites as had characterized the Blackfeet ever since 
the days of Lewis and Clark. The Crows were not in- 
frequently the positive friends of the whites through 
common hatred of the Blackfeet; the Snakes were a 
cowardly lot easily routed by a show of numbers. 

Other reasons combined to induce Ashley to aban- 
don the Missouri-Yellowstone area. Besides the dan- 
ger from the Blackfeet, the hostility of other Indian 
tribes was making the work of the fur trader increas- 
ingly dangerous in that region. The ineffective chas- 
tisement inflicted on the Arikaras in the Leavenworth 
campaign had only served to embolden these dangerous 
savages and their neighbors. The Assiniboins, who 
ranged between the mouth of the Yellowstone and the 
Mandan villages, had become notorious horse thieves. 
Altogether, the Ashley-Henry expeditions had suffered 
in the years 1822 to 1824 a loss of about twenty-five men 
killed and nearly as many more wounded, and property 
to the value of many thousands of dollars. In the new- 
ly opened area beyond the mountains all the Indians 
were less dangerous, save of course the Blackfeet, while 
several tribes, such as the inoffensive and fairly intelli- 
gent Flatheads and Pend d'Oreilles were positively 
friendly. 216 

A further reason for abandoning the old territory 
was the increasing competition which the Ashley- 
Henry interests were having to face. The Missouri 

218 Ross, Alexander. Fur Hunters of the Far West, vols. i, ii, passim. 
Ashley afterwards boasted, though without warrant, that in the year 1824- 
1825, in the area west of the mountains between the thirty-eighth and forty- 
fourth parallels, he had suffered the loss of but one man killed. 

Explorations of William Ashley in 

Fur Company had made a vigorous effort to control 
this area before 1823, and only their crushing disaster 
of that year, at the hands of the Blackfeet, had thwarted 
them. They had begun, however, to recover in large 
measure from their losses. Their heavy capitalization 
greatly strengthened them in their efforts to secure the 
lion's share of the trade on the upper Missouri. Other 
smaller but constantly growing companies had also en- 
tered the race and were closely pressing the older en- 
terprises. Among these were the Columbia Fur Com- 
pany, Stone, Bostwick, and Company, Holliday and 
Gibson, and, indirectly, the American Fur Company. 217 
Finally, the new method of conducting the business 
adopted by Ashley greatly facilitated this change of 
field. So long as the fur companies had been engaged 
merely in trade with the Indians, they had been obliged 
to maintain posts at various commercially strategic 
points, to which the savages might repair with their 
peltries. The more remote the region penetrated, the 
more difficult became the task of maintaining such posts, 
while the number of abandoned establishments, which 
dotted the upper Missouri country even as early as this 
period, pointed to the futility of ever attempting to fol- 
low such methods beyond the mountains. For the trad- 
ing post Ashley had substituted the rendezvous. The 
trappers, proceeding in small self-supporting groups, 
penetrated the most remote valleys and streams, as- 
sembling only in winter for the encampment in some 
sheltered valley and in summer for the rendezvous, both 
of which could be changed from year to year as cir- 
cumstances demanded. The rendezvous, being mov- 
able and temporary, required no one in permanent resi- 

217 Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 322 ff. "Licenses to Trade 
with the Indians," in United States House, Executive Documents, i8th con- 
gress, ist session, vol. i, no. 7. 

112 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

dence. In fact, the only requisite was that it be con- 
ducted at a point accessible to the supply trains which 
came into the mountains with the annual stock of am- 
munition, Indian goods, traps, etc. and took out the 
year's accumulation of furs. An experimental rendez- 
vous had been conducted by Thomas Fitzpatrick on the 
Sweetwater in 1824, but the first general meeting of this 
sort and the real prototype of all that were to follow 
was conducted by Ashley himself in Green River Val- 
ley in the summer of 1825. 

The abandonment of the older territory and the 
penetration of the transmontane country under changed 
business conditions led naturally to a new line of ap- 
proach and, consequently, to a new method of transpor- 
tation. 218 The traditional means of reaching the fur 
country had been by boat up the Missouri River. 
Those who had followed Lewis and Clark had used the 
keel-boat, a craft sixty to seventy-five feet long, with a 
beam of fifteen to eighteen feet and a draft of three 
to four feet. 

Rising from the deck some four or five feet was the cargo box, 
cut off at each end about twelve feet shorter than the boat. 
This part of the boat, as the name implies, was generally used 
for freight, but was occasionally fitted up with state-rooms when 
used for passengers only. The boat was built on thorough prin- 
ciples of ship craft and was a strong, substantial vessel. 219 

The boat was propelled by the cordelle, by poles, by 

218 The credit of having decided on this new field has been accorded 
Ashley. See Victor, The River of the West (Hartford, 1870), 33; Chit- 
tenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 273. It would, however, seem more 
reasonable, a priori, to assume that it was Andrew Henry's idea. He 
alone knew the transmontane country from his winter on Henry's fork in 
1810-1811. It had been his intention, furthermore, to cross to that region 
in 1825. The license granted Ashley and Henry, March 12, 1823, had been 
to trade with the Indians "within and west of the Rocky mountains." See 
"Licenses to Trade with the Indians," in United States House, Executive 
Documents, iSth congress, ist session, vol. i, no. 7. 

219 Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 33. 

Explorations of William Ashley 113 

oars, or even by sails. This remained the principal 
craft for upstream navigation from the earliest utilisa- 
tion of the river to the advent of the steamboat, but it 
was slow and expensive, requiring a crew of from twen- 
ty to forty men under ordinary circumstances. The 
normal rate of speed was only from twelve to fifteen 
miles a day. 220 For downstream navigation the mack- 
inaw, a flat-bottomed boat pointed at both ends, was 
extensively used. It required only a half dozen men to 
handle and was capable of making seventy-five or even 
one hundred miles a day. 

Occasionally the bull-boat, made of buffalo skins 
sewn together and stretched over a frame of willow or 
cottonwood poles, was employed. It had the least 
draught of any river craft and was therefore best 
adapted to such shallow streams as the Platte. 221 Even 
the canoe was used at times. All these craft, it is need- 
less to say, were confined to the Missouri and its navi- 
gable tributaries. As the field of fur trading opera- 
tions was extended farther inland, away from the main 
streams, the more inaccessible by water became the men 
engaged in the business and the more expensive the 
work of transporting supplies to them and of bringing 
down their annual accumulations of furs. 

The only other method of transportation was with 
horses or mules, which Ashley and Henry had used in 
a measure during the years 1822 and 1823. But this 
method had serious drawbacks. Henry's loss of horses 
in the spring and again in the fall of 1823 together with 
the destruction of a considerable number of Ashley's 
mules by the Arikaras had seriously handicapped them. 

220 Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 34; Chittenden, History of 
Early Steamboat Navigation on the Missouri River (New York, 1903), vol. 
i, 103. 

221 This was the craft used by Ashley in descending Green River and 
the Big Horn. Compare page 115. 

114 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

So long as they followed the old route to the mountains 
up the Missouri through the lands of hostile Indians, 
they were certain to suffer such severe losses regularly. 
The farther inland they penetrated, moreover, the more 
indispensable became the maintenance of an adequate 
supply of mounts. 225 

Once the use of horses had been definitely decided on, 
however, the reasons for following the customary routes 
naturally vanished. A less dangerous and above all a 
more direct approach to the mountains was available. 
By the year 1824, Ashley's men were operating on the 
upper reaches of Green River. Now if a point be se- 
lected on this stream in the vicinity of the subsequent 
Fort Bonneville, for example, it will be found that 
from Fort Atkinson, near the mouth of the Platte, to 
this point by way of the Missouri, Yellowstone, and 
Big Horn, and over the mountains is a distance of not 
less than thirteen hundred fifty miles, while by way of 
the North Platte and through the South Pass, the dis- 
tance is only about eight hundred fifty miles, through a 
country of gentle grades, easy passes, and comparative 
immunity from Indian attack. 

The fact that this approach to the mountains and to 
the Interior Basin and the Pacific remained so long un- 
utilized is explained, of course, by the impossibility of 
navigating the Platte, which has been fitly described as 
"a thousand miles long and six inches deep." Had it 
been possible to use boats all the way on this stream, 
the area which it drained and the region beyond would 

222 Ashley's dependence on horses and his difficulty in retaining them is 
illustrated by the narrative of the expedition of 1824-1825 and by the mission 
of "Jim Beckwourth (who seems to have been employed by Ashley in the 
role of wrangler as well as body-servant) to the Pawnees in 1823 and 1824 to 
purchase mounts. See Bonner, Life and Adventures of James P. Beck- 
ivourth, 23, 24, 37. 

Explorations of William Ashley 115 

have been penetrated much earlier. This situation was 
clearly pointed out in that curious book, Memoir of a 
Captivity among the Indians of North America, by 
John Hunter, published in London the year of Ashley's 
successful utilization of this route [1824]. Hunter 
states : 

The river La Platte rises in the Rocky Mountains, runs nearly 
east, is about one thousand six hundred miles in length, broad, 
shoal, and not navigable. The route of the Missouri is widely 
circuitous, the river of difficult ascent, and the mountains next to 
impassable for loaded teams, even though human art and means 
be exhausted in the construction of roads. That of the La 
Platte from the seat of government, is perhaps the most direct 
communication; but there, as before remarked, this river is not 
navigable, nor can it be made so for any expense at present jus- 
tifiable by the object in view. 223 

Only the substitution of horses for boats could render 
the valley of the Platte available for communication 
with the interior. 

In general this was the route which Ashley deter- 
mined to follow in the year 1824. Thomas Fitzpatrick 
had returned by the North Platte in the summer and 
had reported the way feasible. 224 Still Ashley's un- 
dertaking was a bold experiment, for it was not till the 
third of November that he left Fort Atkinson, at a sea- 
son when there was little prospect of obtaining adequate 
feed for his horses. He followed Fitzpatrick's course 
only a portion of the distance. At the forks of the 
Platte, he selected the south branch instead of the 
north, in the hope of finding a greater supply of grass 

223 Hunter, John. Memoir of a Captivity among the Indians of North 
America (London, 1824), 157 ff. 

224 "General Ashley was at this period in St. Louis, where he received a 
letter from Fitzpatrick, relating to him the discovery of the South Pass, their 
success in trapping on the newly found streams, and their disasters. In 
that letter, the Major stated that the new route would easily admit of the 
passage of wagons." - St. Louis Reveille, March i, 1847. 

n6 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

in a lower latitude. He was the first white man to 
travel this route in the dead of winter and the first to 
use that variation of the South Pass, called by the name 
of one of his own employees, James Bridger. He was 
the first American to investigate the mountains of north- 
ern Colorado, the first to enter the Great Divide basin, 
to cross almost the entire length of southern Wyoming, 
and the first to navigate the dangerous canons of Green 

In 1824-1825, Ashley plotted the first section of the 
central overland route to the Pacific. The following 
year, Jedediah S. Smith, having accompanied Ashley 
from St. Louis to the vicinity of Great Salt Lake, by 
way of the North Platte and South Pass, took up the 
trail at that point, marking out, first, a southern and 
then a central route, the remainder of the distance to 
the coast. Lewis and Clark in reaching the Pacific, 
discovered and utilised the northern passes; Ashley and 
Smith in reaching Great Salt Lake utilised the south- 
ern passes. From this point, Smith, in tracing a new 
course to the Pacific, was the first American to reach 
the coast by a route other than that in general followed 
by Lewis and Clark. The latter crossed but one divide 
between the Atlantic and the Pacific drainage areas; 
Smith, following Ashley's route, traversed, between St. 
Louis and California, the Atlantic, Gulf of California, 
Interior Basin, and Pacific coast drainage areas. Lewis 
and Clark were able to follow the course of large rivers 
almost the entire distance from St. Louis to the mouth 
of the Columbia; Ashley and Smith, crossing from one 
complicated drainage area to another, were obliged to 
traverse a series of lofty mountain barriers as well as 
vast stretches of difficult and trying desert. 

Ashley's own narrative of his discovery and explora- 

The Ashley Narrative 117 

tion of the first portion of the midland route, as far as 
the Interior Basin, is as follows: 

SAINT Louis, Dec. i, 1825. 

DEAR SIR, Yours of the 23 November is at hand, and 
in compliance with the request therein contained, I 
herewith enclose you a sketch of the country over which 
I passed on my late tour across the Rocky Mountains. 225 
The following remarks relating to my journey have 
been cursorily put together, but as they afford some 
better information as to the practicability and means of 
traversing that region, at the season of the year present- 
ing the greatest privations, they may not be uninterest- 
ing to you. 

I left Fort Atkinson on the 3rd November, i824. 226 

i 225 This letter was written to General Henry Atkinson. On the date 
mentioned [November 23, 1825] General Atkinson wrote from the Adjutant- 
general's Office of the Western Department, Louisville, Kentucky, to Major- 
general Brown, at Washington, "I learn from General Ashley that there is 
an easy passage across the Rocky Mountains, by approaching them due west, 
from the head waters of the river Platte; indeed so gentle in ascent, as to 
admit of wagons taken over. . . The general is now preparing for me a 
topographical sketch of this section of the country, which shall be forwarded 
to you as soon as received." - United States House. Executive Documents, 
ipth congress, ist session, vol. vi, no. 117. All- efforts to locate this sketch 
and the map accompanying it in the files of the War Department, Wash- 
ington, have proved fruitless. 

The letter, which fills thirty-six pages of letter paper, 26 cm. by 20 cm., 
and is in two different hands, neither of them Ashley's, is in the Ashley Mss., 
Missouri Historical Society. 

228 Ashley had reached Fort Atkinson nearly a fortnight before. "Oct. 21, 
Gen'I. Ashley arrived to-day with party of trapers and hunters destined for 
the Spanish country." - Kennerly Mss., Missouri Historical Society. Ac- 
cording to Beckwourth [Bonner, T. D. Life and Adventures of James P. 
Beckwourth, 33 ff.] a false start had been made in the spring, which they 
were obliged to abandon because the Indians stole most of their horses. 
Ashley had then returned to St. Louis. During the summer of 1824, Thomas 
Fitzpatick had come in from the mountains, having descended the North 
Platte with a party of men and a supply of furs accumulated beyond the 
mountains. On his arrival, Ashley had despatched him to rejoin the men 
he had left behind and to bring in the remainder of the furs. This party, 

ii8 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

On the afternoon of the 5th, I overtook my party of 
mountaineers (twenty-five in number), who had in 
charge fifty pack horses, a wagon and teams, etc. 227 On 
the 6th we had advanced within miles of the vil- 
lages of the Grand Pawney's, when it commenced snow- 
ing, and continued with but little intermission until the 
morning of the 8th. During this time my men and 
horses were suffering for the want of food, which, com- 
bined with the severity of the weather, presented rather 
a gloomy prospect. 22 ' I had left Fort Atkinson under 
a belief that I could procure a sufficient supply of pro- 
visions at the Pawney villages to subsist my men until 
we could reach a point affording a sufficiency of game; 
but in this I was disappointed, as I learned by sending 
to the villages, that they were entirely deserted, the In- 
dians having, according to their annual custom, de- 
parted some two or three weeks previous for their win- 

which included among others Robert Campbell and "Jim" Beckwourth, set 
out in September. Idem, 35. Beckwourth probably antedates their departure 
for he states that "after several days travel" they found them; but it is cer- 
tain that Fitzpatrick and his party were back at Council Bluffs by October 
a6th. "October 26, Fitzpatrick and party have come in and brot beaver." 
During Ashley's sojourn at Fort Atkinson he spent much of his time at the 
neighboring camps of Andrew Drips and Lucius Fontenelle, famous moun- 

227 This is the party to which Fitzpatrick had been despatched and whose 
furs he had brought in. Beckwourth, who gives their number as twenty- 
six, describes their attitude of mind on Fitzpatrick's arrival among them. 
See Bonner, Beck<wourth, 37. 

228 Beckwourth says there were thirty-four men all told. Ashley's figures, 
however, are confirmed further in the narrative when he despatched two 
parties of six men each, one of seven, and himself with six descended Green 
River. Beckwourth confirms Ashley's statement regarding their short rations 
and the gloomy attitude prevailing among the men. "Our allowance," he 
says, "was half a pint of flour a day per man, which we made into a kind 
of gruel; if we happened to kill a duck or a goose, it was shared as fairly as 
possible. . . We numbered thirty-four men, all told, and a duller encamp- 
ment, I suppose, never was witnessed. No jokes, no fire-side stories, no 
fun; each man rose in the morning with the gloom of the preceding night 
filling his mind; we built our fire and partook of our scanty repast without 
saying a word." - Bonner, Beckujourth, 37 ff. 

The Ashley Narrative 119 

tering ground. As the vicinity of those villages af- 
forded little or no game, my only alternative was to sub- 
sist my men on horse meat, and my horses on cotton- 
wood bark, the ground being at this time covered with 
snow about two feet deep. In this situation we con- 
tinued for about the space of two weeks, during which 
time we made frequent attempts to advance and reach 
a point of relief, but, owing to the intense cold and 
violence of the winds, blowing the snow in every direc- 
tion, we had only succeeded in advancing some ten or 
twelve miles, and on the 22nd of the same month we 
found ourselves encamped on the Loup fork of the river 
Platt within three miles of the Pawney towns. 229 Cold 
and hunger had by this time killed several of my horses, 
and many others were much reduced from the same 
cause. On the day last named we crossed the country 
southwardly about fifteen miles to the main fork of the 
Platt, where we were so fortunate as to find rushes and 
game in abundance, whence we set out on the 24th and 
advanced up the Platt as expeditiously as the nature of 
things under such circumstances would admit. 230 After 
ascending the river about one hundred miles, we 
reached Plumb Point on the 3d December, where we 

229 Ashley had been following the Indian trace extending from the Mis- 
souri River to the Pawnee villages, the same which Benjamin O'Fallon and 
his detachment of Long's expedition had followed in the spring of 1820, and 
the main body of that expedition, the ensuing June. The trace, in the vicinity 
of the Pawnee villages "consisted of more than twenty parallel paths of 
similar size and appearance." At this season, it was, of course, as Ashley 
states, deeply covered with snow. O'Fallon and his men had halted near 
the site of Ashley's camp, April 24th, 1820. James, Edwin. Account of an 
Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains [Stephen H. Long's Ex- 
pedition] in Thwaites, Early Western Travels, vol. xv, 143 ff. The first 
Indian village encountered was probably in the vicinity of Fullerton, 
Nance County, Nebraska. 

230 Long had crossed from a point a little further up the Loup fork, esti- 
mating his distance to the Platte at twenty-five miles. See idem, vol. xv, 
233 ff. Ashley probably reached the Platte between the stations Clarke and 
Thummel on the Union Pacific, Merrick County, Nebraska. 

I2O The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

found the encampment of the Grand Pawney Indians, 
who had reached that point (their usual crossing place) 
on their route to the wintering ground on the Arkansas 
River. 231 At two or three of my encampments previous 
to arriving at Plumb Point, I was visited by small par- 
ties of young warriors, who were exceedingly trouble- 
some to my party and committed several thefts before 
leaving us, but on my arrival at the encampment, the 
chiefs and principal men expressed much friendship 
and manifested the same by compelling the thieves to 
return the articles stolen from me. 232 From our encamp- 
ment of the 24th to this place our hunters supplied us 
plentifully with provisions, and the islands and valleys 
of the Platt furnished a bountiful supply of rushes and 
firewood, but I was here informed by the Indians, that 
until I reached the vicinity [of] the mountains, I should 
meet with but one place (the Forks of the Platt) where 

23i Plumb Point is the southernmost point of the Platte River a few miles 
south of Kearney, Buffalo County, Nebraska. There are a number of trails 
by which the Pawnees crossed to the Arkansas. Fremont on the map ac- 
companying his Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains 
(Washington, 1845) indicates such a route running southwest from the lower 
end of Grand Island, while Long, who camped, June 19, 1820, in the vicinity 
of Vroman, Lincoln County, .twenty-seven miles below the forks of the Platte, 
was informed by his guides that he was at a place where the "Pawnees often 
crossed the Platte." James, op. cit., vol. xv, 233; vol. xvii, 256. 

The Grand Pawnees, or Chaui, were one of the four tribes making up 
the Pawnee Confederacy. The others were Republican Pawnee, Papage 
Pawnee, and Loup Pawnee. All belonged to Caddoan stock and had moved 
into the region bounded on the north by the Niobrara and on the south by 
Prairie Dog Creek at a very early and hence traditional date. The popula- 
tion of the Grand Pawnees was estimated by Long in 1820 at three thousand 
five hundred souls [idem, vol. xvii, 152]; by Henry Atkinson in 1825 at five 
thousand five hundred souls, of whom one thousand one hundred were war- 
riors. United States House. Executive Documents, igth congress, ist session, 
vol. vi, no. 117. Speaking of their migratory habits, Atkinson says, "They 
leave their villages in the spring and fall and go far into the plains south- 
west and north-west in pursuit of buffalo." 

282 ZebuIon Pike had had a similar experience with several young Pawnee 
bucks in 1806 on the Republican fork. See Coues, Expedition of Zebulon 
Montgomery Pike, etc. (New York, 1895), vol. ii, 418. 

The Ashley Narrative 121 

a plentiful supply of fuel could be had, and but little 
food of any description for our horses. 233 They urged 
me to take up winter quarters at the forks of the Platt, 
stating that if I attempted to advance further until 
spring, I would endanger the lives of my whole party. 
The weather now was extremely cold, accompanied 
with frequent light snows. We advanced about eight 
miles further up the river, where we fell in with the 
tribe of Loup Pawneys and travelled in company with 
them to the Forks of the Platt (their usual wintering 

238 Beckwourth has left a record of his remarkable contributions to the 
larder by his rare skill as a shot. Deer, elk, duck, bear, buffalo, geese, all 
fell before his unfaltering aim. On one occasion^ his pangs of appetite got 
the better of his conscience. Ashley had issued orders for the best hunters 
to sally out and try their luck. Beckwourth instantly complied. About three 
hundred yards from camp he saw two teal. "I levelled my rifle," he relates, 
"and handsomely decapitated one. This was a temptation to my constancy; 
and appetite and conscientiousness had a long strife as to the disposal of the 
booty." Appetite won the strife, although, says Beckwourth, "a strong in- 
ward feeling remonstrated against such an invasion of the rights of my starv- 
ing mess-mates," with whom he was in honor bound to share whatever he 
could procure. "But if," he argued, "by fortifying myself, I gained ability 
to procure something more substantial than a teal duck, my dereliction would 
be sufficiently atoned, and my overruling appetite, at the same time, gratified." 
Acting on this rather sensible conclusion, he built a fire, roasted, and ate the 
duck. Amazingly refreshed and strengthened, he then continued his hunting 
operations with very gratifying success. He bagged a large buck, a white 
wolf, and three large elk. Returning to camp, he summoned his comrades 
to help bring in the booty, after which, "the fame of Jim Beckwourth was 
celebrated by all tongues." "Amid all this [congratulation," however, says 
Beckwourth, "I could not separate my thoughts from the duck which had 
supplied my clandestine meal in the bushes. I suffered them to appease their 
hunger with the proceeds of my toil before I ventured to tell my comrades 
of the offense I had been guilty of. All justified my conduct, declaring my 
conclusions obvious." Altogether, Beckwourth seems to have derived moral 
as well as physical strength from the incident. He never killed a teal duck 
thereafter without thinking of his "clandestine meal in the bushes," and 
"since that time," he told his biographer, "I have never refused to share my 
last shilling, my last biscuit, or my only blanket with a friend, and I think 
the recollection of that 'temptation in the wilderness' will ever serve as a 
lesson to more constancy in the future." - Bonner, Beck<wourth, 38 ff. 

There are a number of islands in the Platte between this point and the 
mouth of the Loup fork, the principal, of course, being Grand Island. 

122 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

place) where we arrived on the i2th day of December, 
and had so far found the Indians' information in rela- 
tion to fuel and horse food to be correct. At this time 
my men had undergone an intense suffering from the 
inclemency of the weather, which also bore so severely 
on the horses as to cause the death of many of them. 
This, together with a desire to purchase a few horses 
from the Loups and to prepare my party for the pri- 
vations which we had reason to anticipate in travelling 
the next two hundred miles (described as being almost 
wholly destitute of wood), induced me to remain at the 
Forks until the 23d December, the greater part of which 
time, we were favoured with fine weather, and, not- 
withstanding the uplands were still covered with from 
eighteen to twenty-four inches of snow, the valleys were 
generally bare and afforded a good range for my horses, 
furnishing plenty of dry grass and some small rushes, 
from the use of which they daily increased in strength 
and spirits. 

The day after our arrival at the Forks, the chiefs and 
principal men of the Loups assembled in council for 
the purpose of learning my wants, and to devise means 
to supply them. 234 I made known [to] them that I 

284 The Pawnee Loups, or more properly the Skidi (probably from tskiri, 
a wolf) linguistically and according to their own tradition, are more closely 
related to the Arikara branch of the Caddoan stock than are the other Pawnee 
tribes. They had been united with the Arikaras at one time, they believed, 
but in the course of the general northerly movement of all the tribes of this 
stock, the Arikaras had continued up the Missouri while the Pawnee Loups 
had been shunted off into the valley of the Platte. Their customs and their 
political affiliations were common to the other Pawnee tribes, although Long 
found that "they appeared unwilling to acknowledge their affinity." See 
James, op. cit., vol. xvii, 153. The white settlers of New Mexico became 
acquainted with the Pawnees early in the seventeenth century by the horse 
stealing raids which these Indians frequently conducted into the Spanish 
country. The Pawnee Loups, according to Long, numbered in 1820, one 
hundred dirt lodges, making five hundred families, or approximately two 
thousand souls. Henry Atkinson in his report to Major-general Brown, 

The Ashley Narrative 123 

wished to procure twenty-five horses and a few buffalo 
robes, and to give my men an opportunity of providing 
more amply for the further prosecution of the journey, 
I requested that we might be furnished with meat to 
subsist upon while we remained with them, and prom- 
ised that a liberal remuneration should be made for 
any services they might render me. After their delib- 
erations were closed, they came to this conclusion : that, 
notwithstanding they had been overtaken by unusually 
severe weather before reaching their wintering ground, 
by which they had lost a great number of horses, they 
would comply with my requisition in regard to horses 
and other necessaries as far as their means would admit. 
Several speeches were made by the chiefs during the 
council, all expressive in the highest degree of their 
friendly disposition towards our government, and their 
conduct in every particular manifested the sincerity of 
their declarations. 

On the 23d December, having completed the pur- 
chase of twenty-three horses and other necessary things, 
I made arrangements for my departure which took 
place on the next morning. The South fork of the 
River being represented as affording more wood than 
the North, I commenced ascending that stream. The 
weather was fine, the valleys literally covered with buf- 
faloe, and everything seemed to promise a safe and 
speedy movement to the first grove of timber on my 
route, supposed to be about ten days' march. The Loup 
Pawneys were not at this time on very good terms with 
the Arapahoe and Kiawa Indians, and were anxious to 
cultivate a friendly understanding with them, to ac- 

basing his calculations apparently on information derived from Ashley, 
wrote, "The Pawnee Loups are estimated at 3,500 souls of which 700 are 
warriors." See United States House. Executive Documents, igth congress, 
ist session, vol. vi, no. 117. 

124 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

complish which, they concluded to send a deputation of 
five men with me to meet those tribes and propose to 
them terms of peace and amity. 232 This deputation 
overtook me on the afternoon of the 25th. 

Having now reached a point where danger might be 
reasonably apprehended from strolling war parties of 
Indians, spies were kept in advance and strict diligence 
observed in the duty of sentinels. 

The morning of the 26th was cloudy and excessively 
cold. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon it began to snow 
and continued with violent winds until the night of the 
27th. The next morning (28th) four of my horses 
were so benumbed with cold that they were unable to 
stand, although we succeeded in raising them on their 
feet. A delay to recruit them would have been at- 
tended with great danger, probably even to the destruc- 
tion of the whole party. I therefore concluded to set 
forward without them. The snow was now so deep 
that had it not been for the numerous herds of buffaloe 
moving down the river, we could not possibly have 
proceeded. The paths of these animals were beat on 
either side of the river and afforded an easy passage to 
our horses. These animals were essentially beneficial 

ass The Arapaho, of Algonquin stock, according to their tradition, moved 
north-east from the vicinity of the upper Arkansas. En route, they divided. 
These, the southern group, were usually at peace with their neighbors, the 
Kiowa Indians, but had a long tradition of hostility to the Pawnees. James 
[op. cit., vol. xv, 157 ff.] describes a battle between the Pawnees and Ara- 
paho in 1820. Their feud was kept up until they were confined on reserva- 
tions. The Kiowas, constituting a distinct linguistic stock, migrated from 
the vicinity of the Three Forks to the Canadian and Arkansas. Lewis and 
Clark reported them on the North Platte. They were the most blood-thirsty 
and predatory of all the prairie tribes and have probably killed more white 
men in proportion to their numbers than any other of the plains Indians. 
The Pawnees were also seeking to cultivate a better understanding with the 
Arapaho ten years later. Dodge, Henry. "Report of the Expedition with 
Dragoons to the Rocky mountains during the summer of 1835, etc.," in United 
States Senate, Executive Documents, 24th congress, ist session, no. 209. 

The Ashley Narrative 125 

to us in another respect by removing (in their search 
for food) the snow in many places from the earth and 
leaving the grass exposed to view, which was the only 
nourishment our horses could obtain. 236 

We continued to move forward without loss of time, 
hoping to be able to reach the wood described by the 
Indians before all our horses should become exhausted. 
On the ist January, 1825, I was exceedingly surprised 
and no less gratified at the sight of a grove of timber, 
in appearance, distant some two or three miles on our 
front. 237 It proved to be a grove of cottonwood of the 
sweet-bark kind suitable for horse food, situated on an 
island, offering, among other conveniences, a good sit- 
uation for defence. 238 I concluded to remain here sev- 
eral days for the purpose of recruiting my horses, and 

236 Beckwourth comments on the number of buffalo encountered. See 
Bonner, Beckwourth, 45. 

237 The exact location of the point at which Ashley first sighted the moun- 
tains can be pretty definitely determined. Long, who traveled this route in 
June, 1820, obtained his first glimpse two days after passing a creek he called 
Cherry Creek, identified by Thwaires as Pawnee Creek, Logan County, Colo- 
rado. James, op. cit., vol. xv, 260, 264. This would be from a point near 
the town of Cooper, Morgan County, Colorado. Fremont, who traveled this 
route in 1842 and again in 1843, sighted the mountains on the former expedi- 
tion near the mouth of Beaver fork. Fremont, op. cit., 30. On the latter 
expedition he described, July i, "a faint blue mass in the west as the sun sank 
behind it," at approximately the same point, camping that night a few 
miles farther up the Platte at the mouth of Bijou Creek. Fremont, op. cit., 
no. In both instances he sighted the mountains from a point near the con- 
fluence of Beaver fork with the South Platte, closely corresponding with 
Long's "first view." Rufus B. Sage obtained a distinct view of the main 
ridge in August, 1842, a few miles above Beaver fork. Sage, R. B. Rocky 
Mountain Life, 206. Ashley also, in all probability, secured his first view 
very near Beaver fork. 

238 This may very well be the same island on which Fremont found one, 
Chabonard, camped in July, 1842, about nine miles, above the mouth of 
Bijou fork. It is interesting to note that on the day Fremont first sighted 
the mountains, in 1842, he met a party of three men, one of whom was Jim 
Beckwourth, who were hunting for a band of horses which had strayed 
from Chabonard's camp. Near here, almost certainly, Beckwourth camped 
seventeen years before with Ashley. Fremont, op. cit., 30. 

126 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

made my arrangements accordingly. My Indian 
friends of the Pawne Loup deputation, believing this 
place to be nearly opposite to the Arrapahoe and other 
Indian camps on the Arkansas determined to proceed 
hence across the country. They prepared a few pounds 
of meat and with each a bundle of wood tied to his 
back for the purpose of fuel, departed the following 
morning on their mission. Being informed by the 
Pawneys that one hundred of my old enemies (the Ari- 
cara warriors) were encamped with the Arkansas In- 
dians, and my situation independent of that circum- 
stance, being rendered more vulnerable by the depar- 
ture of the Indians, who had just left us, I was obliged 
to increase my guard from eight to sixteen men. 239 This 
was much the most severe duty my men had to perform, 
but they did it with alacrity and cheerfulness as well as 
all other services required at their hands; indeed, such 
was their pride and ambition in the discharge of their 
duties, that their privations in the end became sources 
of amusement to them. We remained on this island 
until the cottonwood fit for horse food was nearly con- 
sumed, by which time our horses were so refreshed as 
to justify another move forward. We therefore made 
arrangements for our departure and resumed our march 
on the i ith January. 

The weather continued extremely cold, which ren- 
dered our progress slow and very labourious. We pro- 
cured daily a scanty supply of small pieces of drift- 
wood and willow brush, which sufficed for our fuel, 
but we did not fall in with any cottonwood suitable for 
horse food until the 2oth, when we reached another 
small island clothed with a body of that wood sufficient 

239 Long found a solitary Arikara who had been residing among the 
Pawnees but had traveled as far south as the Arkansas. James, op. cit., vol. 
xv, 219. 

The Ashley Narrative 127 

for two days subsistence. From this last mentioned is- 
land, we had a clear and distant view of the Rocky 
Mountains bearing west, about sixty miles distant. 241 
Believing from the information of the Indians that it 
was impracticable to cross them at this time, I con- 
cluded to advance to their base with my whole party, 
and, after fortifying my camp, to proceed with a part 
of my men into the mountains, to ascertain if possible 
the best route to cross over, and at the same time, en- 
deavour to employ my men advantageously until a state 
of things would allow me to proceed on my journey. 

We advanced slowly to the point proposed, and had 
the good fortune to find on our way an abundance of 
wood for fuel as well as for horse food. On the 4th 
February, we approached near to the base of the moun- 
tain and encamped in a thick grove of cottonwood and 
willows on a small branch of the River Platt. Our 
situation here was distant some six or eight miles North 
of a conspicuous peak of the mountains, which I imag- 
ined to be that point described by Major Long as being 
the highest peak and lying in latitude 40 N., longitude 
29 W. 241 On my route hither from our encampment of 
the 2Oth January, I was overtaken by three Arapahoe 

2*0 Near the boundary of Weld and Morgan Counties. Compare Dodge, 
op. cit., 20. 

241 On Big Thompson Creek or the Cache La Poudre, probably the latter. 
Ashley estimates his distance at six to eight miles north of Long's peak, which 
would place him on Big Thompson, but like Pike and Long before him, he 
probably failed to make a correction for the deceptiveness of distances in the 
rare Colorado atmosphere. The Cache la Poudre is the larger stream, up 
whose course ran an Indian trail which later became a well-defined road. It 
was followed by Fremont in 1843. Fremont, op. cit., 122. The best maps for 
this portion of Ashley's journey are the sheets of the Geological and Topo- 
graphical Atlas accompanying the Report of the Geological Exploration of 
the Fortieth Parallel (Washington, 1876), commonly known as the "King 
Survey." These sheets, though abounding in inaccuracies in detail, show 
very graphically the general features of the topography. The map accom- 
panying Fremont's Report, while serviceable, must be used with caution. 

128 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Indians. They stated to me that they had been in- 
formed by the Indians of the Pawney deputation 
(whom they had received and treated with friendship) 
of my journey up the Platt, and that they with 60 or 70 
other warriors had started from their encampment on 
the Arkansas to join me, but the unusual depth of snow 
on the prairies had deterred all the party except them- 
selves from proceeding further than their second day's 
encampment. I made them some presents, gave them 
advice in relation to the course of conduct they should 
pursue towards our citizens, and pointed out to them 
the advantages which a friendly understanding between 
them and the Pawneys would produce to both tribes. 
They acknowledged the correctness of my admonition 
and promised in future to pursue the line of conduct I 
had advised them to adopt. They then thanked me 
for the presents I had made them and departed to re- 
join their tribe. 

We were busily [engaged] on excursions in different 
directions from our camp until the 25th February. Al- 
though the last ten days had been pleasant weather part- 
ly accompanied with warm suns, the scene around us 
was pretty much the same as when we arrived, every- 
thing being enveloped in one mass of snow and ice, but, 
as my business required a violent effort to accomplish 
its object, notwithstanding the mountains seemed to bid 
defiance to my further progress, things were made 
ready, and on the 26th we commenced the doubtful un- 
dertaking. 245 Our passage across the first range of 
mountains, which was exceedingly difficult and danger- 
ous, employed us three days, after which the country 
presented a different aspect. Instead of finding the 

242 Ashley is the first white man, so far as is known, to undertake the 
crossing of the Front Range near this latitude. 

The Ashley Narrative 129 

mountains more rugged as I advanced towards their 
summit and everything in their bosom frozen and tor- 
pid, affording nothing on which an animal could pos- 
sibly subsist, they assumed quite an altered character. 
The ascent of the hills (for they do not deserve the 
name of mountains) was so gradual as to cause but little 
fatigue in travelling over them. The valleys and south 
sides of the hills were but partially covered with snow, 
and the latter presented already in a slight degree the 
verdure of spring, while the former were rilled with 
numerous herds of buffaloe, deer, and antelope. 243 

In my passage hither I discovered from the shape of 
the country, that the range of mountains twenty or 
thirty miles to the north of my route, was not so lofty 
or rugged and in all probability would afford a con- 
venient passage over them. 244 From here I pursued a 
W.N.W. course with such variations only as were 
necessary in selecting the smoothest route. The face 
of the country west and northwardly continued pretty 
much the same. Successive ranges of high hills grad- 
ually ascending as I advanced, with detached heaps of 
rock and earth scattered promiscuously over the hills 
several hundred feet higher than the common surf ace. 245 
On the south there appeared at the distance of fifteen 

243 The divide over the Front Range is only about two thousand feet 
above the level of the plain to the east and of easy ascent in summer, but, 
in the dead of winter, it is surprising that Ashley succeeded in crossing at all. 
His description of the hills is accurate. Fremont called the divide "a range 
of buttes." Fremont, op. cit., 122. Ashley after crossing the Front Range 
[called by him the first range] passed from the watershed of the South 
Platte to that of the North Platte. 

244 The Medicine Bow Range, the southern spurs of which are the higher. 
Compare Beekly, "Geology and Coal Resources of North Park, Colorado," in 
United States Geological Survey, Bulletin 596 (Washington, 1915), 12 ff. 

245 Pursuing a westward and northerly course, he paralleled the Medicine 
Bow Range. His description of the broken country between the upper trib- 
utaries of the Cache la Poudre and Laramie River is unmistakable. 

130 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

or twenty miles a range of lofty mountains bearing 
east and west, entirely covered with snow and timbered 
with a thick growth of pine. 246 We were able to pro- 
cure but a scanty supply of fuel till we arrived on the 
loth March at a small branch of the North fork of the 
Platte, where we found an abundance of wood. 247 This 
stream is about one hundred feet wide, meandering 
north-eastwardly through a beautiful and fertile valley, 
about ten miles in width. Its margin is partially 
wooded with large cottonwood of the bitter kind. 248 
The sweet cottonwood, such as affords food for horses, 
is nowhere to be found in the mountains ; consequently 
our horses had to subsist upon a very small allowance 
of grass, and this, too (with the exception of a very in- 
considerable proportion) entirely dry and in appear- 
ance destitute of all nutriment Yet my horses retained 
their strength and spirits in a remarkable degree, 
which, with other circumstances, confirms me in the 
opinion that the vegetation of the mountains is much 
more nourishing than that of the plains. 

On the 1 2th, I again set out and in the evening en- 
camped at the foot of a high range of mountains cov- 
ered with snow and bearing N.N.W. and S.S.E., 

246 Hague Peak, Long's Peak, Mt. Richthofen, Park View Mountain, and 
other peaks in the vicinity would give the appearance of an east to west 
range. As a matter of fact he was probably forty miles from the nearest 
of them. 

247 Laramie River. After flowing northwardly from its source in the 
Medicine Bow Range, Big Laramie cuts a longitudinal valley through the 
mountains, and then, turning sharply to the east emerges into the Laramie 
plains, flowing northeastwardly to the site of the town of Laramie, Albany 
County, Wyoming, where it turns north again. 

248 T ne populus angustifolia or narrow-leaf cottonwood. Unlike the other 
variety, the populus angulata, or round-leaf (sweet) cottonwood, it is not 
eaten by horses. It has a smoother trunk and more slender and flexible 
branches than the populus angulata. Lewis and Clark described the two 
varieties, which they identified as populi. Thwaites, R. G. Original Journals 
of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, vol. vi, 145, 146. 

The Ashley Narrative 131 

which, as they appeared to present the same obstruc- 
tions to my passage as far north as the eye could reach, 
determined me (after a day's examination) to attempt 
the continuation of my course W.N.W., hoping to be 
as successful as I had been in crossing the first range. 24 ' 
My attempt, however, proved unsuccessful. After an 
unremitting and severe labour of two days, we returned 
to our old encampment with the loss of some of my 
horses, and my men excessively fatigued. We found 
the snow to be from three to five feet in depth and so 
firmly settled as to render our passage through it whol- 
ly impracticable. This mountain is timbered with a 
beautiful growth of white pine and from every appear- 
ance is a delightful country to travel over in the sum- 
mer season. After remaining one day longer at the 
camp to rest my men and horses, I left it a second time 
and travelled northwardly along the base of the moun- 
tains. As I thus advanced, I was delighted with the 
variegated scenery presented by the valleys and moun- 
tains, which were enlivened by innumerable herds of 
buffaloe, antelope, and mountain sheep grazing on 
them, and what added no small degree of interest to the 
whole scene, were the many small streams issuing from 
the mountains, bordered with a thin growth of small 
willows and richly stocked with beaver. 250 As my men 
could profitably employ themselves on these streams, I 
moved slowly along, averaging not more than five or 
six miles per day and sometimes remained two days at 
the same encampment. 

249 Perhaps following up the Little Laramie, which emerges from a tempt- 
ing opening in the Medicine Bow Range. 

250 There are scores of streams issuing from the Medicine Bow Range, 
tributary to the Medicine Bow and Laramie Rivers, Cooke Creek, Button 
Creek, Rock Creek, etc. The extensive growth of willows bordering these 
streams was noted by Fremont [op. cit., 123]. 

132 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

On the 2ist March, the appearance of the country 
justified another attempt to resume my former course 
W.N.W. 251 The principal or highest part of the 
mountain having changed its direction to East and 
West, 252 I ascended it in such manner as to leave its 
most elevated ranges to the south 253 and travelled North 
West over a very rough and broken country generally 
covered with snow. My progress was therefore slow 
and attended with unusual labour untill the afternoon 
of the 23d, when I had succeeded in crossing the range 
and encamped on the edge of a beautiful plain of a 
circular form and about ten miles in diameter. 254 The 
next day (24th) we travelled West across the plain, 
which terminated at the principal branch of the North 
fork of the River Platt, on which we encamped for the 
night. 255 On the two succeeding days we passed over 
an elevated rough country entirely destitute of wood 

251 On the twelfth he encamped at the foot of a high range which he un- 
dertook to cross. This is probably the northern section of the Medicine Bow 
Range. After a day's "examination" [the I3th] he devoted two days of 
severe labor [the I4th and isth] to crossing, but returned, baffled, to his camp 
at the foot of the mountain. Here he rested his men a day [the i6th] and on 
the iyth resumed his march. On the 2ist [i.e., after five days' travel] he 
reached a point where he believed himself justified in essaying once more a 
west northwest course. He had advanced at the rate of only five or six 
miles a day and on one occasion, at least, laid over a day. Assuming that 
he averaged four miles a day for five days, he would, at a distance of twenty 
miles, be close to the point where the Medicine Bow River emerges from the 
Medicine Bow Range, just to the east of Elk Mountain. See United States 
Geological Survey, Fort Steele Quadrangle (topographic sheet). 

282 Elk Mountain which terminates the Medicine Bow Range on the north. 

258 The broken ranges to the south and west include Elk Mountain and 
Sheephead Mountain. 

254 Ashley crossed the divide by a route paralleling the line of the Union 
Pacific but to the south of it, and encamped probably on Pass Creek near the 
confluence of Rattlesnake Creek. A highway now follows this route. The 
circular plain to which Ashley refers lies south of Walcott, Carbon County, 
Wyoming. This is approximately the route followed by Fremont in 1843. 
See Fremont, op, cit., 125 ff. 

255 In approximately latitude, 41, 40' N:; longitude, 106, 54' W. 

The Ashley Narrative 133 

and affording no water save what could be procured by 
the melting of snow. We used as a substitute for fuel 
an herb called wild sage. 256 It resembles very much in 
appearance the garden sage but acquires a much larger 
growth and possesses a stock of from four to five inches 
in diameter. It burns well and retains fire as long as 
any fuel I ever used. 

From the morning of the 2yth to the night of the ist 
April, we were employed in crossing the ridge which 
divides the waters of the Atlantic from those of the 
Pacific Ocean. 257 The first two days, the country we 
met with was undulating with a gradual ascent to the 
West. Southwardly at the distance of twenty or thirty 
miles appeared a range of high mountains bearing East 
and West. 258 Northwardly, at an equal distance, were 
several small mountains or high hills irregularly seated 
over the earth, which I afterwards ascertained to sur- 
round the sources of a branch of the Platt called Sweet 
Water. 259 

On the 3d, 4th and ^th days, we travelled over small 
ridges and valleys alternately, the latter much the most 
extensive and generally covered with water produced 
by the melting of the snow and which appeared to have 
no outlet. 260 This dividing ridge is almost entirely des- 
titute of vegetation except wild sage with which the 
earth is so bountifully spread that it proved a consider- 
able impediment in our progress. As my horses were 
greatly exhausted by the fatigue and hunger they had 
underwent, I advanced on the ad April only two or three 

256 The characteristic artemisia tridentata. 

257 By the way of Bridger's Pass. Ashley is the first white man to cross 
by this route. See United States War Department, Map of the Military De- 
partment of the Platte, Wyoming (Washington, 1874). 

258 The Sierra Madre Range of northern Colorado. 

259 Ferris Mountains and Green Mountains. 

260 Quite right; this was the Great Divide Basin. 

134 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

miles to a place where I had, on the preceding evening, 
discovered some grass. After my camp was arranged, 
I advanced with one of my men eight or ten miles on 
my route to a high hill for the purpose of taking a view 
of the adjacent country in the expectation of finding 
the appearance of water courses running westwardly. 
Nothing, however, was visible from which I could 
form an opinion with the exception of a huge craggy 
mountain, the eastern extremity of which, bearing from 
this hill due North, made nearly a right angle. The 
arm which extended northwardly divides (as I after- 
wards ascertained) the waters of the Yellow Stone and 
Bighorn from some of the headwaters of the Columbia, 
while the west arm separates the Southern sources of 
Lewis's fork of the Columbia from what I suppose to 
be the headwaters of the Rio Colorado of the West. 
While on the mountain, I was discovered by a war 
party of Crow Indians, who were returning from an ex- 
cursion against the Southern Snake Indians. This 
party, unobserved by me, followed me to my camp and 
on the succeeding night stole seventeen of my best 
horses and mules. 261 This outrage reduced me to a 
dreadful condition. I was obliged to burden my men 
with the packs of the stolen horses, and, after making 
the necesary arrangements, they were directed to pro- 
ceed to the hill where I had been discovered the day 
previous by the Indians, while I, with one man, pur- 
sued the fugitives, who travelled northwardly over the 
roughest parts of the country and with all possible ex- 
pedition. In the course of the day we recovered three 

261 Probably North Pilot butte from which an extensive view is obtainable 
of the Wind River and Gros Ventre Ranges. Having crossed the continental 
divide, he quite naturally looked for westward flowing waters. Beckwourth, 
whose narrative jumps from the Forks of the Platte to this point, calls it 
Pilot butte. He confirms the loss of the horses at this place. Bonner, op. 
'/., 52 ff. 

The Ashley Narrative 135 

of the stolen horses, which were left on the way, and 
rejoined our party that night. On the next morning I 
despatched nine men on the trail of the Indians, and 
with the residue of my party I proceeded in search of 
a suitable encampment at which to await their return. 
On the 6th we reached a small stream of water running 
North West. 262 We deemed it about ten miles where 
it formed a junction with another rivulet of the same 
size, which headed northwardly in the range of moun- 
tains before described. 263 This stream is clothed with 
a growth of small willows and furnishes the only con- 
stant running water we have met with since the 24th 
March and also the first wood we have seen in the same 
space of time. We continued at this camp until the 
nth inst, on which day, the men sent in pursuit of the 
Indians came back without success. They had ascer- 
tained, however, from the direction of the trace and 
other circumstances that they belonged to the Crow 
Nation. On the i2th we again proceeded on our jour- 
ney, pursuing the meanders of the creek last mentioned 
in a South West direction; but the weather was so ex- 
ceedingly bad, snowing a greater part of the time, that 
we were unable to advance more than six or eight miles 
per day until the i8th inst, when we left the creek and 
traveled west about fifteen miles to a beautiful river 

282 According to Beckwourth [Bonner, op. cit., loc. cit.~\, it was he 
who discovered this stream at a distance of four or five miles from their camp 
of April fifth. Beckwourth states that Ashley was ill at the time because of 
exposure and insufficient fare and consequently had to be conveyed in a 
litter. It is just such passages as these, the creations apparently of Beck- 
wourth's egotistical mind, that have unfortunately discredited his entire 

263 Morton Creek, called White Horse Creek on the maps of the 'eighties 
and 'nineties and as late as 1879 not even charted. Its course was to the 
east of the line of travel through the South Pass. Ashley struck it ten 
miles above its confluence with Big Sandy. He here touches the trail used 
by his own men the previous spring and summer. 

136 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

running South. 264 This stream is about one hundred 
yards wide, of a bold current, and generally so deep 
that it presents but few places suitable for fording. Its 
margin and islands are wooded with large long leafed 
(or bitter) cottonwood, box-elder, willows, etc., and, 
judging from the quantity of wood cut on its banks, and 
other appearances, it once must have contained a great 
number of beaver, the major part of which (as I have 
been informed) were trapped by men in the service of 
the North West Company some four or five years ago. 265 

The country in this vicinity and eastwardly fifty 
miles is gently rolling. Some of the valleys afford a 
species of fine grass, but the uplands produce but little 
vegetation of any kind except a small growth of wild 

I have hitherto said but little in relation to the fer- 
tility of the soil on my route because that part of it ly- 
ing East [of] the mountains has in two or three in- 
stances been described by gentlemen who have travelled 
over the country for that express purpose and further 
because the perfect sameness in the quality of the soil 
and its productions enabled me to describe them alto- 
gether and that in but few words. From this place to 
Plumb Point on the River Platt, the proportion of ara- 
ble land (which is almost entirely confined to the val- 
leys of the mountains) is so inconsiderable that the 
whole country (so far as my observations extended) 
may be considered of no value for the purpose of agri- 
culture. The surface generally either exhibits a bed 

264 They left Big Sandy and, traveling west, came to the main stream of 
Green River. 

285 This must have occurred on the Snake expedition conducted by M'Ken- 
zie, in 1819-1820, who traversed the region south of Lewis's fork to the 
Blackfeet Lake and perhaps as far as Soda Springs. One of his letters was 
dated, Black Bar's Lake [Bear Lake?], September 10, 1819. Ross, Alexander. 
Fur Hunters of the Far West, vol. i, 227, 267. 

The Ashley Narrative 137 

of sand or a light coloured barren earth, which is in 
many places wholly destitute of the least semblance of 
vegetation. In relation to the subsistence of men and 
horses, I will remark that nothing now is actually nec- 
essary for the support of men in the wilderness than a 
plentiful supply of good fresh meat. It is all that our 
mountaineers ever require or even seem to wish. They 
prefer the meat of the buffaloe to that of any other 
animal, and the circumstance of the uninterrupted 
health of these people who generally eat unreasonable 
quantities of meat at their meals, proves it to be the 
most wholesome and best adapted food to the constitu- 
tion of man. In the different concerns which I have 
had in the Indian Country, where not less than one 
hundred men have been annually employed for the last 
four years and subsist altogether upon meat, I have not 
known at any time a single instance of bilious fever 
among them or any other disease prevalent in the set- 
tled parts of our country, except a few instances (and 
but very few) of slight fevers produced by colds or 
rheumatic affections, contracted while in the discharge 
of guard duty on cold and inclement nights. Nor have 
we in the whole four years lost a single man by death 
except those who came to their end prematurely by be- 
ing either shot or drowned. In the summer and fall 
seasons of the year, the country will afford sufficient 
grass to subsist any number of horses in traversing it 
in either direction and even in the winter season, such 
is the nutricious quality of the mountain grass that, 
when it can be had plentifully, although perfectly dry 
in appearance, horses (moderately used) that partake 
of it, will retain in a great degree their flesh, strength, 
and spirits. When the round leaf or sweet-bark cot- 
tonwood can be had abundantly, horses may be win- 

138 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

tered with but little inconvenience. They are very fond 
of this bark, and, judging by the effect produced from 
feeding it to my horses last winter, I suppose it almost, 
if not quite, as nutricious as timothy hay. 

On my arrival at the point last described, 286 I de- 
termined to relieve my men and horses of their heavy 
burdens, to accomplish which, I concluded to make 
four divisions of my party, send three of them by land 
in different directions, and, with the fourth party, de- 
scend the river myself with the principal part of my 
merchandise. Accordingly, some of the men com- 
menced making a frame about the size and shape of a 
common mackinaw boat, while others were sent to pro- 
cure buffaloe skins for a covering. 267 On the 21 April, 
all things being ready for our departure, I despatched 
six men northwardly to the sources of the river; seven 
others set out for a mountain bearing S.S.W. and 
N.N.E., distant about thirty miles; and six others were 
sent in a southern direction. 268 After selecting one of 
the most intelligent and efficient of each party to act 
as partizans, I directed them to proceed to their respec- 
tive points of destination and thence in such direction 
as circumstances should dictate for my interest. 269 At 

266 He camped fifteen miles above the mouth of the Sandy. 

267 The craft would not technically be a mackinaw boat, which was a flat 
bottomed vessel pointed at both ends and usually forty to fifty feet long with 
a twelve foot beam. Ashley's boat was a bull-boat, the normal dimensions of 
which were thirty foot length by twelve foot beam, with a draft of twenty 

268 The twenty-first of April would make their sojourn here for the con- 
struction of the boat, three days. Beckwourth says they were encamped four 
or five days. Bonner, Beckivourth, 57. One division was sent to the upper 
course of Green River, a region familiar to Henry and Smith. The direc- 
tion pursued by the party of seven is not clear but the passage seems to in- 
dicate that they moved toward the Bear River Mountains. The division sent 
south must have advanced toward the Uintah Mountains. 

269 Thomas Fitzpatrick probably led one of the expeditions and, accord- 
ing to Beckwourth [Bonner, op. cit., 62], one, Clement, the other. This may 

The Ashley Narrative 139 

the same time they were instructed to endeavor to fall 
in with two parties of men that were fitted out by me 
in the year previous, and who were then, as I supposed, 
beyond the range of mountains appearing westwardly. 27 ' 
The partisans were also informed that I would descend 
the river to some eligible point about one hundred miles 
below, there deposit a part of my merchandise, and 
make such marks as would designate it as a place of 
General Rendezvous for the men in my service in that 
country, and where they were all directed to assemble 
on or before the loth July following. 271 

After the departure of the land parties, I embarked 
with six men on Thursday, the 2ist April, on board my 
newly made boat and began the descent of the river. 
After making about fifteen miles, we passed the mouth 
of the creek which we had left on the morning of the 
1 8th and to which we gave the name of Sandy At 
4 o'clock in the afternoon we encamped for the re- 
mainder of the day and night at a place distant about 
forty miles from where we embarked, finding from the 

have been the Antoine Claymore [Clement] mentioned by F. F. Victor [The 
River of the West, 138] as associated with Joe Meek in 1833. August Clay- 
more, "the oldest trapper in the mountains," accompanied Richard Wootton 
in a trapping expedition along upper Green River in 1838. Conrad, H. L. 
Uncle Dick Wootton (Chicago, 1890), 68. He was very likely a relative of 
David Clement who went to the mountains in 184.1 or 1842. Vasquez Mss., 
Missouri Historical Society. Beckwourth places the point of departure of the 
separate companies further down Green River near the. mouth of Henry's 
fork. He is certainly mistaken but his error may be due to his need for the 
setting of another rescue of General Ashley, the third time he saves the 
general's life within ten pages. 

270 This, of course, refers to the two parties, one under the command of 
Jedediah Smith, and the other probably headed by William Sublette. By this 
time, both were presumably in Cache Valley or at Great Salt Lake. 

271 This is the second general rendezvous of the Ashley trappers. The 
first had been conducted by Andrew Henry, the previous summer, on the 
Big Horn (?). Beckwourth says they were directed to gather at rendezvous 
the first of July. See Bonner, op. cit., 62. 

272 This is the naming of the Sandy, famous for years in overland travel. 

140 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

movement of our boat in this day's progress that she 
was too heavily burthened, we began the construction of 
another, which was completed and launched on the 
morning of the 24th, when we again set out. As we 
advanced on our passage, the country gradually became 
more level and broken. The river bottom, which in 
point of soil, is but little better than the uplands, be- 
comes narrower as we descended and has generally the 
appearance of being subject to inundation. Today we 
made 30 miles. 

MONDAY, 25TH: the country to-day under our ob- 
servation is mountainous on either side of the river for 
twenty miles, then it resumes its former appearance of 
elevated and broken heights. A beautiful bold run- 
ning stream about fifty yards wide empties itself on the 
west side of the river bearing N.W. and S.E. 273 Be- 
low this junction the river is one hundred and fifty 
yards wide, the valley narrow and thinly timbered. 
We encamped on an island after making about twenty- 
five miles. Thence we departed on the succeeding 
morning and progressed slowly without observing any 
remarkable difference in the appearance of the river or 
surrounding country until the 3oth inst., when we ar- 
rived at the base of a lofty rugged mountain, the sum- 
mit of which was covered with snow and bearing East 
and West. Here also a creek sixty feet wide dis- 
charges itself on the West Side. 274 This spot I selected 
as a place of General Rendezvous, which I designated 
by marks in accordance with the instruction given to 
my men. So far, the navigation of this river is with- 

278 Black's fork. Powell [Exploration of the Colorado River of the Wist 
(Washington, 1875), 10] camped below its confluence, March 25, 1869. 

274 Henry's fork. Powell cached his instruments here in 1869. The 
brothers Kolb, camped very nearly at the site of Ashley's camp, September 
i3th, 1911. Kolb, E. L. Through the Grand Canyon from Wyoming to 
Mexico (New York, 1914), 22. 

The Ashley Narrative 141 

out the least obstruction. The channel in the most 
shallow places affords not less than four feet water. 
Game continues abundant, particularly buffaloe. There 
is no appearance of these animals wintering on this 
river; but they are at this time travelling from the 
West in great numbers. 

SATURDAY, MAY 20: we continued our voyage about 
half a mile below our camp, when we entered between 
the walls of this range of mountains, which approach 
at this point to the waters' edge on either side of the 
river and rise almost perpendicular to an immense 
height. The channel of the river is here contracted to 
the width of sixty or seventy yards, and the current 
(much increased in velocity) as it rolled along in angry 
submission to the serpentine walls that direct it, seemed 
constantly to threaten us with danger as we advanced. 275 
We, however, succeeded in descending about ten miles 
without any difficulty or material change in the aspect 
of things and encamped for the night. 276 About two 
miles above this camp, we passed the mouth of a creek 
on the West side some fifteen yards wide, which dis- 
charged its water with great violence. 277 

275 Flaming Gorge Canon. Kolb mentioned the quickening of the current. 
Kolb, op. cit., 24. The walls of the canon rise to a height of one thousand 
five hundred feet. Powell, op. cit., 14. F. S. Dellenbaugh [A Canyon Voy- 
age (New York, 1908), 20] locates the Green River "Suck" at this point. 
See Bonner, op. cit., 57. Powell [op. cit., 14], says, "Entering Flaming Gorge, 
we quickly run through it on a swift current, and emerge into a little park. 
Half a mile below, the river wheels sharply to the left and we turned into 
another canyon cut into the mountain." 

276 This camp was probably near the two small islands at the point where 
the stream widens out within a little park just below the end of Kingfisher 
Canon. Three canons had been passed this day, Flaming Gorge, Horseshoe, 
and Kingfisher. Dellenbaugh [A Canyon Voyage, 22], describes them as 
the gateway, the vestibule, and the ante-chamber, respectively. Ashley's es- 
timate of their combined length, ten miles, is correct. Kolb, op. cit., 29; 
Dellenbaugh, F. S. A Canyon Voyage, 22. Powell camped near this point, 
May 30, 1869. 

277 Sheep Creek, described by Powell [op. cit., 14], and by Kolb [op. cit., 

142 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

SUNDAY, 3RD: after progressing two miles, the navi- 
gation became difficult and dangerous, the river being 
remarkably crooked with more or less rapids every mile 
caused by rocks which had fallen from the sides of the 
mountain, many of which rise above the surface of the 
water and required our greatest exertions to avoid them. 
At twenty miles from our last camp, the roaring and 
agitated state of the water a short distance before us 
indicated a fall or some other obstruction of consider- 
able magnitude. Our boats were consequently rowed 
to shore, along which we cautiously descended to the 
place from whence the danger was to be apprehended. 
It proved to be a perpendicular fall of ten or twelve 
feet produced by large fragments of rocks which had 
fallen from the mountain and settled in the river ex- 
tending entirely across its channel and forming an im- 
pregnable barrier to the passage of loaded water- 
craft. 278 We were therefore obliged to unload our 
boats of their cargoes and pass them empty over the falls 
by means of long cords which we had provided for such 
purposes. At sunset, our boats were reloaded and we 
descended a mile lower down and encamped. 279 

28]. This, the only stream of any size, between Henry's fork and Red 
Canyon, enters the main canyon through a fault. 

278 They here reached the dangerous Red Canyon. For a map of this 
region, see United States Geological Survey, Marsh Peak Quadrangle (topo- 
graphic sheet). 

279 Ashley Falls in Red Canyon. All who have navigated this dangerous 
passage have noted the ominous roar that greets the ear on approaching the 
defile. Powell, op. cit., 16 ff. Dellenbaugh, F. S. Canyon Voyage, 22. Powell 
and Kolb were obliged to resort to the use of lines to lower their boats be- 
fore reaching this point Powell, op. cit., 15. Dellenbaugh, Canyon Voyage, 
24. Kolb, op. cit., 31. One of Powell's boats upset in Red Canyon on his 
second expedition, 1871. In the upper rapids Theodore Hook of Cheyenne, 
Wyoming, who attempted to follow Powell, was drowned in 1869. He and 
his party set out to descend the river in flat-bottomed boats. Hook was 
buried in the canyon. Dellenbaugh, Canyon Voyage, 25 ; Romance of the 
Colorado, 249. 

While encamped at this place, Ashley inscribed his name in paint on the 

The Ashley Narrative 143 

MONDAY, 4TH : this day we made about forty miles. 280 
The navigation and mountains by which the river is 
bounded continues pretty much the same as yesterday. 
These mountains appear to be almost entirely composed 
of stratas of rock of various colours (mostly red) and 
are partially covered with a dwarfish growth of pine 
and cedar, which are the only species of timber to be 

TUESDAY, 5TH : after descending six miles, the moun- 
tains gradually recede from the water's edge, and the 
river expands to the width of two hundred and fifty 

cliffs by the river, "Ashley- 1825." This inscription has had an interesting 
history and has given rise to much curious speculation. Powell [op. cit., 17] 
found it in 1869 but could not make out the third figure, some of his party 
reading it "3," others, "5." Powell [op. cit., 27] relates the fate of Ashley 
thus: suffering a wreck further down the river in which all of his com- 
panions save one were drowned, Ashley and the other survivor "climbed 
the canyon walls and found their way across the Wasatch mountains to Salt 
Lake City, living chiefly on berries, as they wandered through an unknown 
and difficult country. When they arrived at Salt Lake, they were almost 
destitute of clothing and nearly starved. The Mormon people gave them 
food and clothing and employed them at the foundation of the Temple, until 
they had earned sufficient to enable them to leave the country." The Powell 
party saw the inscription again in 1871. See Dellenbaugh, Romance of the 
Colorado, 112, where it is reproduced. William L. Manly, who came through 
the canyon in 1849 saw the inscription. In his narrative he writes, "While 
I was looking up toward the mountain top [at the site of Ashley's camp] and 
along down the rocky wall, I saw a smooth place about fifty feet above, 
where the great rocks had broken out there, painted in large black letters, 
were the words, 'Ashley, 1824.' This was the first real evidence we had of 
the presence of a white man in this wild place, and from this record it seems 
that twenty-five years before, some venturesome man had here inscribed his 
name. I have since heard there were some persons in St. Louis of this name, 
and of some circumstances which may link them with this early traveller." - 
Manly, W. L. Death Valley in 1849 (San Jose, 1894), 80. Kolb [op. cit., 39] 
says, "There were three letters, A-s-h, the first two quite distinct, and under- 
neath were two black spots. It must have been pretty good paint to leave a 
trace after eighty-six years." This was in 1911. 

280 This is an exaggeration due perhaps to the velocity with which they 
traveled. The entire length of Red Canon is only twenty-five and two-thirds 
miles. Judging from the distance made the following day in reaching Brown's 
Hole, they must have camped somewhere near the mouth of Park Creek, where 
there is an excellent site. See Powell, op. cit., 21 and map. 

144 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

yards, leaving the river bottoms on each side from one 
to three hundred yards wide interspersed with clusters 
of small willows. 281 We remained at our encampment 
of this day until the morning of the yth, when we de- 
scended ten miles lower down and encamped on a spot 
of ground where several thousand Indians had wintered 
during the past season. 282 Their camp had been judi- 
ciously selected for defence, and the remains of their 
work around it accorded with the judgment exercised 
in the selection. Many of their lodges remained as 
perfect as when occupied. They were made of poles 
two or three inches in diameter, set up in circular form, 
and covered with cedar bark. 

FRIDAY, THE STH: we proceeded down the river 
about two miles, where it again enters between two 

281 Brown's Hole, afterwards a very famous valley. According to Dellen- 
baugh [Romance of the Colorado, 1x2], Ashley ended his journey at this 
point. "Here," says Dellenbaugh, "they discovered Provo encamped with an 
abundance of provisions, so their troubles were quickly over. The opening 
they had arrived at was probably Brown's Hole. There is only one other 
place that might be called an opening, and this is a small park-like break 
on the right side of the river, not far above Brown's Hole, previously called 
Little Brown's Hole and also Ashley Park. The Ashley men would have 
had a hard climb to get out of this place, and it is not probable that Provo 
would have climbed into it, as no beaver existed there. It seems positive, 
then, that Ashley came to Provo in Brown's Hole. Thus he did not 'make 
his perilous way through Brown's Hole,' as one author says [Chittenden, 
American Fur Trade, vol. i, 274], because he ended his journey with the 
beginning of that peaceful park. . . Provo had plenty of horses, and Ashley 
and his men joined him, going out to Salt Lake, where Provo had come 
from." Dellenbaugh's animadversion at Chittenden was probably occasioned 
by the latter's sneer at Powell's surmise regarding the identity of Ashley. 
Chittenden, op. cit., vol. i, 275. As a matter of fact, both Chittenden and 
Dellenbaugh are mistaken in their narratives of Ashley's movements, 1824.- 
1825, including the descent of Green River, and in both cases the error is 
attributable to a too great confidence in Jim Beckwourth, who, as he himself 
says, did not accompany Ashley on this portion of his expedition. 

Ashley camped twelve miles above the canon of Lodore, near the present 

282 Probably a band of Utes. The Utes are of Shoshonean stock and were 
frequently confused with the Snakes by early travelers. 

The Ashley Narrative 145 

mountains and affording a channel even- more con- 
tracted than before. As we passed along between 
these massy walls, which in a great degree excluded 
from us the rays of heaven and presented a surface as 
impassable as their body was impregnable, I was^forc- 
ibly struck with the gloom which spread over the coun- 
tenances of my men; they seemed to anticipate (and 
not far distant, too) a dreadful termination of our voy- 
age, and I must confess that I partook in some degree 
of what I supposed to be their feelings, for things 
around us had truly an awful appearance. We soon 
came to a dangerous rapid which we passed over with 
a slight injury to our boats. 283 A mile lower down, the 
channel became so obstructed by the intervention of 
large rocks over and between which the water dashed 
with such violence as to render our passage in safety 
impracticable. The cargoes of our boats were there- 
fore a second time taken out and carried about two hun- 
dred yards, to which place, after much labor, our boats 
were descended by means of cords. 284 Thence we de- 

283 This is the first rapid of Lodore, really a series of four. Powell had 
difficulty here on his first expedition. Powell, op. cit., 22. On his second 
trip, he ran the first rapid without difficulty. Dellenbaugh, Canyon Voyage, 
34. Kolb [o/>. cit., 51] ran these without difficulty but in the month of Sep- 

284 Disaster Falls, so named, on his first voyage, by Powell, who lost 
one of his boats here. Just below the falls, Powell discovered a Dutch oven, 
some tin plates, a part of a boat, and many other fragments, "which," says he, 
"denote that this is the place where Ashley's party was wrecked." As a 
matter of fact, these articles were probably the remains of a camp, made at 
this point in 1849. Some unknown party descended the river thus far pre- 
sumably en route to California. Says Manly \Death Valley in 1849, 84], 
"We found a deserted camp, a skiff and some heavy cooking utensils with a 
notice posted up on an alder tree saying that they had found the river route 
impracticable, and being satisfied that the river was so full of rocks and 
boulders that it could not be safely navigated, they had abandoned the un- 
dertaking and were about to start overland to make their way to Salt Lake. 
I put down the names of the party at the time in my diary, which has since 
been burned." The legibility of the sign with the general description given 

146 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

scended fifty (50) miles to the mouth of a beautiful 
river emptying on each side, to which I gave the name 
of Mary's River. 285 The navigation continued danger- 
ous and difficult the whole way; the mountains equally 
lofty and rugged with their summits entirely covered 
with snow. Mary's River is one hundred yards wide, 
has a rapid current, and from every appearance very 
much confined between lofty mountains. A valley 
about two hundred yards wide extends one mile below 
the confluence of these rivers, then the mountain again 
on that side advances to the water's edge. 286 Two miles 
lower down is a very dangerous rapid, and eight miles 
further the mountain withdraws from the river on the 
west side about a half mile. Here we found a luxuri- 
ous growth of sweet-bark or round-leaf cottonwood and 
a number of buffaloe, and succeeded by narrow river 
bottoms and hills. The former, as well as several is- 
lands, are partly clothed with a luxuriant growth of 
round-leaf cottonwood and extend four miles down the 

by Manly, clearly indicates that these articles had been abandoned only 
recently. Powell saw these remains twenty-six years after. 

Every expedition that has passed these rapids has had to use lines. 

From this point, Ashley's narrative seems to be a summary of his journal, 
rather than a series of extracts quoted verbatim. Beginning with the words, 
"to which place," the writing continues in a different hand. 

286 Through the remainder of Lodore Canon, including the difficult and 
dangerous "Hell's Half-mile," which Ashley does not even mention. His 
journal reads "fifty miles," certainly a mistake. The copyist may have mis- 
read "fifteen," which would be very nearly correct The total length of 
Lodore Canon is twenty and three-fourths miles; the drop in that distance 
four hundred twenty feet. Dellenbaugh, F. S. Canyon Voyage, 48. Mary's 
river is the Yampa, known also to the early trappers as Bear River, the 
first tributary of any magnitude entering the Green River from the east, 
which very markedly increases the volume of that stream. On Fremont's 
map, a hypothetical Mary's River joins Green River, some distance above 
Brown's Hole. 

286 A very accurate description of Echo Park at the confluence of the 
Yampa with the Green. See Powell, op. '/., 32; Dellenbaugh, Canyon 
Voyage, 49. 


2 a 3 


The Ashley Narrative 149 

river, where the mountains again close to the water's 
edge and are in appearance more terrific than any we 
had seen during the whole voyage. 287 They immedi- 
ately produce bad rapids, which follow in quick suc- 
cession for twenty miles, below which, as far as I de- 
scended, the river is without obstruction. In the course 
of our passage through the several ranges of mountains, 
we performed sixteen portages, the most of which were 
attended with the utmost difficulty and labor. At the 
termination of the rapids, the mountains on each side of 
the river gradually recede, 288 leaving in their retreat a 
hilly space of five or six miles, through which the river 
meanders in a west direction about (70) seventy miles, 
receiving in that distance several contributions from 
small streams on each side, the last of which is called 
by the Indians Tewinty River. 289 It empties on the 
north side, is about (60) sixty yards wide, several feet 
""deep, with a bold current. 

I concluded to ascend this river on my route re- 
turning, therefore deposited the cargoes of my boats 
in the ground near it, and continued my descent of 

287 Whirlpool Canon, really a series of rapids, totaling fourteen miles. 
Kolb, op. cit., 77. Powell was forced to resort to ropes at this point on his 
first expedition. The withdrawal of the mountains forms Island Park, a 
charming enclosure, so-called by Powell, who, like Ashley, noted the wooded 
islands. Powell, op, cit., 37, 38 ; Dellenbaugh, F. S. Canyon Voyage, 56. 
See Kolb, op. cit., 78. Kolb remarks the presence of the cottonwoods. Ac- 
cording to Dellenbaugh, the actual length of the valley is only about four 
miles, but the river meanders a course of nine. 

288 These are the rapids of Split-mountain Canon. The Powell expedition 
used ropes to negotiate them on both journeys. Powell, op. cit., 40; Dellen- 
baugh, F. S. Canyon Voyage, 58 ff. The actual length of the canon proper 
is only nine miles, Kolb, op. cit., 79. Island Park and Split-mountain Canon 
total eighteen miles, which may be what Ashley had in mind when he said 
twenty miles. 

289 Tewinty is the Uinta, which enters Green River, as Ashley says, about 
seventy miles, as the river flows, below Split-mountain Canon. One of the 
affluents mentioned by Ashley above the Uinta is called Ashley's fork. The 
town of Ouray, Utah, is at the mouth of the Uinta River. 

150 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

the main river fifty miles to the point marked 5 
on the topographical sketch sent you. 290 The whole 
of that distance the river is bounded by lofty moun- 
tains heaped together in the greatest disorder, ex- 
hibiting a surface as barren as can be imagined. 293 This 
part of the country is almost entirely without game. 
We saw a few mountain-sheep and some elk, but they 
were so wild, and the country so rugged that we found 
it impossible to approach them. On my way returning 
to Tewinty River, I met a part of the Eutau tribe of 

290 All efforts to locate the topographical sketch, here referred to, have 
been in vain. None of the offices of the War Department, to which it was 
undoubtedly transmitted, have any record of it. 

Fifty miles below the mouth of the Uinta would bring him very near to 
the point where the Old Spanish Trail, now followed by the Denver and 
Rio Grande Railroad, crosses Green River at the station of that name. 

291 Desolation Canon. Just below the mouth of the Uinta, Ashley passed 
the mouth of White River entering from the east. He was now in a coun- 
try penetrated once and, perhaps, twice before by white men. Nearly fifty 
years before, Dominguez and Escalante, Spanish Franciscans, in their attempt 
to pass by a northern route from Sante Fe to Monterey, crossed White River, 
some distance above its confluence with the Green, and then crossed Green 
River itself, near the lower end of Split-mountain Canon. Escalante in his 
journal under date, September 13, 1776 [printed in English translation in 
Harris, The Catholic Church in Utah (Salt Lake City, 1909), 164] in 
speaking of Green River [San Buenaventura] says that it is "the same one 
that Fray Alonso De Posada says in his report separates the Yuta nation from 
the Comanche, if we may judge by Alonso de Posado" who was custodio of 
New Mexico, 1660-1664. Twitchell, Leading Facts of New Mexican History 
(Cedar Rapids, 1911), vol. i, 345. He wrote, about 1686, a report, Informe a 
S. M. sobre las tierras de Nuevo Mejico, Quivira, y Teguayo. According to 
H. H. Bancroft [History of Arizona and Neiv Mexico (San Francisco, 1889), 
21], his name has been misspelled, Paredes. Harris [o/>. cit., 60] states that 
he was despatched by Governor Tomas Veles Cachupin, in 1763, to explore 
the country north of New Mexico. Cachupin was governor of New Mexico, 
1749-1754, and again, 1762-1767, a man much disliked by the Franciscans. 
He did, to be sure, send expeditions northwest as far as the Gunnison country 
in search of precious metals, but certainly not under Alonso de Posada. 
Posada is not among the many sources utilized by Alexander von Huinboldt, 
a list of which is given in his Political Essay on the Kingdom of Neio Spain, 
translated by John Black (London, 1811), vol. i, pp. Ivi-lxiv. Dominguez and 
Escalante found the course of Green River to be southwest, and they ap- 
parently followed it to the mouth of White River [Rio San Clemente]. 

The Ashley Narrative 151 

Indians, who appeared very glad to see us and treated 
us in the most respectful and friendly manner. These 
people were well dressed in skins, had some guns, but 
armed generally with bows and arrows and such other 
instruments of war as are common among the Indians 
of the Missouri. Their horses were better than Indian 
horses generally are east of the mountains and more 
numerous in proportion to the number of persons. I 
understood (by signs) from them that the river which 
I had descended, and which I supposed to be the Rio 
Colorado of the West, continued its course as far as 
they had any knowledge of it, southwest through a 
mountainous country. 292 They also informed me that 
all the country known to them from South to West from 
Tewinty River was almost entirely destitute of game, 
the Indians inhabiting that region subsist princi- 
pally on roots, fish and horses. The Eutaus are a part 
of the original Snake nation of Indians. They have no 
fixed place of residence but claim a district of country 
which (according to their representation) is about one 
hundred and fifty miles long by one hundred miles 
wide, to which their situation at that time was nearly 
central. 293 

292 This, of course, disposes of the theory that Ashley was met in Green 
River Valley by Provot [Dellenbaugh, F. S. Romance of the Colorado, 112; 
Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 275] or that he met with shipwreck, 
or that he surmised that he was on a stream that would conduct him back 
to St. Louis. He knew that he was on the Rio Colorado of the West and he 
intended to return to his rendezvous after exploring it a bit. Chittenden 
says [o#. '/., vol. ii, 779, footnote'], "At the time that Ashley and his men en- 
tered the valley of Green River in 1824, it was supposed to flow into the Gulf 
of Mexico. Various hints in the correspondence of the times show this to be 
the case, and it is even averred that General Ashley thought so when he start- 
ed to descend the river in a canoe in 1825. It is certain, however, that the 
Astorians knew the identity of the stream, 1811-1812, for they called it the 
Colorado, or Spanish River." So did Ashley. 

293 Ute Indians. The Utes occupied the region comprised within central 
and western Colorado and eastern Utah. They obtained horses at an early 

152 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

I purchased a few horses of the Eutaus, returned to 
Tewinty River and ascended to its extreme sources, 
distant from its mouth about seventy miles, in general 
bearing W.N.W. and S.S.E. ; [it] runs through a moun- 
tainous sterile country. 294 From the head waters of 
Tewinty River, I crossed a range of lofty mountains 
nearly E. and W., which divide the waters of the Rio 
Colorado from those which I have represented as the 
Beaunaventura. This range of mountains is in many 
places fertile and closely timbered with pine, cedar, 
quaking-asp, and a dwarfish growth of oak; a great 
number of beautiful streams issue from them on each 
side, running through fertile valleys richly clothed with 
grass. I proceeded down the waters of the Beaunaven- 
tura about sixty miles bordered with a growth of willow 
almost impenetrable. In that distance I crossed sev- 
eral streams from 20 to 60 yards wide running in vari- 
ous directions. All of them, as I am informed, unite 
in one in the course of 30 miles, making a river of con- 
siderable magnitude, which enters a few miles lower 

date and became famous for their skill in handling them. United States 
Bureau of Ethnology. Seventh Annual Report (1885-1886), 109. 

294 Ashley followed up the Uinta and its main affluent, the Duchesne. 
At the forks, near the present Stockmore, he naturally selected the right-hand 
fork, as being the larger and affording the easier passage. He slightly over- 
estimated the distance to the headwaters of the Duchesne. Dominguez and 
Escalante followed this route up these streams, but at the site of the present 
town of Theodore, Wasatch County, Utah, abandoned the main stream of 
the Duchesne to follow up the Strawberry and thence across the Wasatch 
Range to Utah Lake. At the confluence of the Duchesne and Uinta, a trad- 
ing post was constructed by Antoine Robidoux, perhaps not long after Ash- 
ley's visit. Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. iii, 971. The Hudson's 
Bay Company at a later period undertook to penetrate this country. Sir 
William Drummond Stewart in a letter to William L. Sublette, dated Head 
of Blue Fork, August 27, 1838, writes, "The H. B. Company have estab- 
lished a fort on the Wintey [Uinta] and Andy's people [the men in the 
employ of Andrew Drips, agent of the American Fur Company] will be 
driven from here, if the government does not take some steps." - Sublette 
Mtt., carton 12, Missouri Historical Society. 

The Ashley Narrative 153 

down a large lake, represented on your sketch as Lake 
Tempagono. 295 This information was communicated 
to me by our hunters who (as I before told) had crossed 
to this region in the summer of 1824 and wintered on 
and near the borders of this lake. 298 They had not ex- 
plored the lake sufficiently to judge correctly of its ex- 

295 Ashley crossed the lofty Uintah Range in the vicinity of Bald Peak. 
The waters of the Buenaventura, on which he found himself, after crossing 
the divide, are the tributaries of Weber River. The drainage area is in- 
deed complicated, and he must have been confused by the various directions 
the streams pursued. Not all those that he crossed, however, united to form 
the Weber. Some of them are the head branches of Bear River, which, of 
course, only reaches Great Salt Lake after a long and circuitous course. He 
may very well, too, have crossed the upper waters of Black's fork, a tribu- 
tary of Green River, which he has just left. The mighty Buenaventura, 
which according to tradition, entered the Pacific in the vicinity of San Fran- 
cisco, has now dwindled to the rather insignificant Weber. Lake Tempagono 
(sic) is confounded with the Timpanogos of Dominguez and Escalante, who 
understood by that name the freshwater Utah Lake of to-day. Chittenden 
[American Fur Trade, vol. i, 275] is, of course, wrong in saying that, after 
meeting Provot in Green River Valley, "the united parties now made their 
way westward across the Wasatch mountains into the Salt Lake valley." 
Ashley, however, had excellent reasons for calling the stream which he struck, 
the Buenaventura. The Map of the United States, by William Darby (New 
York, 1818), shows the S. Buenaventura flowing into Lake Timpanagos. 
Carey [General Atlas (Philadelphia, 1814), 29] shows the R. de Buenaven- 
tura entering not Lake Timpanogos [shown] but Great Salt Lake, confus- 
ing it in part with the Sevier. C. V. Lavoisne [Atlas (Philadelphia, 1821), 
map 68, drawn by John Melish, and copied from an earlier map of 1816 by 
the same cartographer] shows the R. Buenaventura flowing into a large 
lake with an indeterminate western shore, out of which flows an hypothetical 
stream westward into San Francisco Bay. John Thomson [New and Gen- 
eral Atlas (Edinburgh, 1817), map 58] shows the R. de S. Buenaventura 
rising in latitude 41, longitude, 108, and flowing west into a large un- 
named lake with an indeterminate western and southern shore line. An- 
thony Finley [Neio and General Atlas (Philadelphia, 1826), map 31] shows 
the R. Buenaventura flowing into a Salt Lake and out of it again at its 
southwest extremity, westward into San Francisco Bay. To the north of 
this Salt Lake, he places Lake Timpanogos. 

How far Ashley followed the upper Weber is uncertain, but he reached 
a point, thirty miles below which these tributaries united and, a few miles 
lower down, entered a large lake. This would indicate that he advanced 
about to the Kamas Prairie, a charming mountain park, just east of Park 
City, Summit County, Utah. 

298 See pages 103, 104. 

154 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

tent, but from their own observations and information 
collected from Indians, they supposed it to be about 
eighty miles long by fifty broad. They represented it 
as a beautiful sheet of water deep, transparent, and a 
little brackish, though in this latter quality the accounts 
differ; some insist that it is not brackish. 297 I met sev- 
eral small parties of Eutaw Indians on this side of the 
last mentioned range of mountains, 100 miles long bear- 
ing about W.N.W. and S.S.E. [who said] that a large 
river flowing out of it on the west end runs in a western 
direction, but they know nothing of its discharge into 
the ocean or of the country any considerable distance 
west of the lake. I also conversed with some very in- 
telligent men who I found with our hunters in the vicin- 
ity of this lake and who had been for many years in the 
service of the Hudson Bay Fur Company. Some of 
them profess to be well acquainted with all the princi- 
pal waters of the Columbia, with which they assured 
me these waters had no connection short of the ocean. 298 
It appears from this information that the river is not 
the Multnomah, a southern branch of the Columbia, 
which I first supposed it to be. 299 The necessity of my 

297 Precisely. The reference here is to the descent of Bear River by 
James Bridger in a skin canoe. At the mouth of this stream, the salinity of 
the water varies with the season of the year. In the spring, when Bear 
River is high, there is almost no trace of salt, but later in the season, Bear 
River Bay, as the northeastern arm of the lake is called, is noticeably salt, 
partly due to the alkali in the lake itself and partly to the noxious waters of 
Malade River, which joins Bear River a short distance above its mouth. 

298 The men who had been employed since 1819 on the Snake River ex- 
peditions of the Northwest and later the Hudson's Bay companies. For a 
discussion of the extent of their explorations see pages 51 ff. These are the 
men who, at rendezvous, disposed of their furs to Ashley. 

299 According to the geographic ideas prevalent in Ashley's day, the 
Multnomah was supposed sometimes to be a large tributary of the Columbia, 
paralleling Snake River, but a considerable distance to the south, entering the 
Columbia below the mouth of the Snake. On the Carey map, the Multnomah 
rises in the Rockies and flows northwestward through the Sierras and into 
the Columbia. On the Melish map, the Multnomah rises in longtitude m, 

The Ashley Narrative 155 

unremitted attention to my business prevented me from 
gratifying a great desire to descend this river to the 
ocean, which I ultimately declined with the greatest re- 
luctance. 300 The country drained by these waters, 
which is about one hundred and twenty miles wide and 
bounded on the North, East and South by three princi- 
pal and conspicuous mountains, is beautifully diversi- 
fied with hills, mountains, valleys, and bold running 
streams and is in parts fertile. The northern part of it 
is well supplied with buffaloe, elk, bear, antelope, and 
mountain-sheep. The country east and a considerable 
distance north of these lakes, 301 including the head- 
waters of the Rio Colorado of the West and down the 
same to Mary's river, is claimed by the Shoshone In- 
dians. The men in my employ here have had but little 
intercourse with these people. So far they had been 
treated by them in the most friendly manner. They 
had, however, some time in the fall of 1824, attacked 

flows west and is joined by a river from a large lake unnamed [correspond- 
ing to Lake Timpanagos of other maps] into the Columbia. The upper 
course of the Multnomah is called R. de San Clementini on this map. Sim- 
ilarly, Map 3 of A Complete Historical, Chronological, and Geographical 
American Atlas, intended as a companion to Lavoisne's edition of Le Sage's 
Atlas (Philadelphia, 1822). "The Columbia and the Multnomah, its southern 
branch, . . . after flowing toward each other, the one, a thousand, and 
the other, nearly fifteen hundred miles, break through and find their way 
to the sea, uniting their waters about sixty miles from it. The distance from 
the sources of the Columbia to that of the Multnomah, which rises with the 
Colorado of California, is not less than two thousand miles." - Brackenridge, 
H. M. Views of Louisiana, 95. The non-existence of the Multnomah, or 
rather, its identity (if identity it can really be called), with the Willamette 
was shown on the Parker map of 1838, embodying data derived from Jedediah 
S. Smith's explorations. 

soo gee footnote 295. Ashley, accordingly, did not "on this occasion" make 
his explorations "south of Great Salt Lake" and "as far as Sevier lake."- 
Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 276. As a matter of fact, Ashley 
never visited Great Salt Lake but once, in the summer of 1826. 

301 The first use of the plural in the narrative. Ashley must have been 
advised of the existence of Utah Lake and probably also Bear Lake as well 
as Great Salt Lake. 

156 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

and killed several of our citizens who had crossed from 

Taus and were trading on the . 802 

On the ist day of July, all the men in my employ or 
with whom I had any concern in the country, together 
with twenty-nine, who had recently withdrawn from 
the Hudson Bay Company, making in all 120 men, were 

302 This very probably refers to the attack on a party of men under 
Joseph Robidoux alluded to in the Missouri Intelligencer of April 19, 1825, 
"William Heddest, who went to Santa Fe in one of the trading companies 
last winter has just returned having left Taos, January twelfth. He 
says ... in August, he with fourteen others left Taos to trap beaver 
and traveled west thirty days," reaching Green River. Here the company 
separated, nine ascending the river. "Our informant was among those who 
remained and in a few days they accidentally fell in with five other Ameri- 
cans among them, Mr. Rubideau (sic)." Two days after, a party of Ara- 
pahos attacked them, killed one man, Nowlin, and robbed the others. A 
party of six of them then concluded to return to Taos, leaving Robidoux and 
his men in the mountains without a single horse or mule. Compare also the 
report of William Gordon to Lewis Cass, 1831, where occurs the following, 
"The same year [1824] eight of Nolidoux (sic) men were killed by Co- 
manches." - United States Senate. Executive Documents, 226 congress, ist ses- 
sion, vol. ii, no. 90. According to Chittenden [American Fur Trade, 
vol. ii, 507] who summarizes the article in the Missouri Intelligencer, the 
Green River mentioned by Heddest [Huddart, the name becomes in Chitten- 
den] is the same which Ashley himself descended. The origin of the name 
Green River, applied to the Rio Colorado of the West, is uncertain. Accord- 
ing to Bancroft [History of Utah, 21] it was so-called in honor of one Green, 
an employee of Ashley. Fremont [op. '/., 129] says that the Spanish early 
knew it by this name. In the Missouri Intelligencer, June 25, 1825, it is stat- 
ed that Captain William Becknell left Santa Cruz in November, 1824, with 
nine men to trap on Green River, several hundred miles from Santa Fe and 
that on the way they met several parties of poor and inoffensive Indians, 
who, however, it was afterward reported, had murdered several of Trevor's 
men and robbed the remainder. The reference here is probably to the lower 
course of Green River even below the lowest point reached by Ashley. The 
probability that the attack on the party from Taos, referred to by Ashley, 
on a river whose name <was unknown to him, actually took place on the 
stream he had himself descended, is strengthened by the fact that Robidoux 
is known to have trapped in the vicinity of the Gunnison and Uncompaghre, 
tributaries of the Green, as early as 1825, having left Fort Atkinson, Sep- 
tember 30, 1824. Kennerly, James. "Journal," Kennerly Mss., Missouri 
Historical Society. The Old Spanish trail (the route of Dominguez and 
Escalante) would have brought Robidoux into the drainage area of Grand 
River. It was not unusual, a little later, to proceed thus from Taos to the 
middle stretch of Green River, and the route was then thoroughly familiar 
to Robidoux. Sage, R. B. Rocky Mountain Life, 228. 

The Ashley Narrative 157 

assembled in two camps near each other about 20 miles 
distant from the place appointed by me as a general 
rendezvous, 303 when it appeared that we had been scat- 
tered over the territory west of the mountains in small 
detachments from the 38th to the 44th degree of lati- 
tude, and the only injury we had sustained by Indian 
depredations was the stealing of 17 horses by the Crows 
on the night of the 2nd April, as before mentioned, and 
the loss of one man killed on the headwaters of the Rio 
Colorado, by a party of Indians unknown. 

Mr. Jedediah Smith, a very intelligent and confi- 
dential young man, who had charge of a small detach- 
ment, stated that he had, in the fall of 1824, crossed 
from the headwaters of the Rio Colorado to Lewis' fork 
of the Columbia and down the same about one hun- 
dred miles, thence northwardly to Clark's fork of the 
Columbia, where he found a trading establishment of 
the Hudson Bay Company, where he remained for some 
weeks. Mr. Smith ascertained from the gentleman 
who had charge of that establishment, that the Hudson 
Bay Company had then in their employment, trading 
with the Indians and trapping beaver on both sides of 
the Rocky Mountains, about 80 men, 60 Of whom were 
generally employed as trappers and confined their oper- 
ations to that district called the Snake country, which 
Mr. Smith understood as being confined to the district 
claimed by the Shoshone Indians. It appeared from 
the account, that they had taken in the last four years 
within that district eighty thousand beaver, equal to one 
hundred and sixty thousand pounds of furs. 304 

You can form some idea of the quantity of beaver 

303 Beckwourth states that the rendezvous was transferred from the place 
selected at the "Suck," i.e. at the mouth of Henry's fork, up that stream to a 
point where the Hudson's Bay people had agreed to meet them. He adds 
that there were two hundred men present. Bonner, op. cit., 73. 

30 *See page 98. 

158 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

that country once possessed, when I tell you that some 
of our hunters had taken upwards of one hundred in the 
last spring hunt out of streams which had been trapped, 
as I am informed, every season for the last four years. 
It appears from Mr. Smith's account that there is no 
scarcity of buffalo as he penetrated the country. As 

Mr. Smith returned, he inclined west and fell on 

the waters of the Grand Lake or Beaunaventura. 305 He 
describes the country in that direction as admitting a 
free and easy passage and abounding in salt. At one place 
particularly hundreds of bushels might have been col- 
lected from the surface of the earth within a small space. 
He gave me some specimens, which equal in appear- 
ance and quality the best Liverpool salt. Mr. S. also 
says the buffaloe are very plenty as far as he penetrated 
the country over it in almost any direction. 

On the 2nd day of July, I set out on my way home- 
wards with 50 men, 25 of whom were to accompany me 
to a navigable point of the Big Horn River, thence to 
return with the horses employed in the transportation 
of the furs. 308 I had forty-five packs of beaver cached 

805 It is uncertain in what month of the winter of 1824-1825, Bridger 
descended Bear River to Great Salt Lake. Robert Campbell's claim of 
Bridger's discovery would seem to indicate that he reached it before Smith. 
If the latter's sojourn of "some weeks" at Flathead House means that he re- 
mained only till very early spring, it may indicate that Bridger and his com- 
panions descended Bear River in the late fall of 1824, after establishing 
themselves for the winter in Cache Valley. 

306 According to Ashley, rendezvous lasted only one day. He met his 
men on the first of July and departed on the second. Beckwourth says it 
lasted "about a week." Bonner, op. cit., 76. It is noteworthy that there is 
no definite entry of date in Ashley's narrative from the eighth of May to the 
first of July. Leaving Brown's Hole, May eighth, he had ample time to de- 
scend Green River to the Uinta, thence seventy miles further down the Green 
and back to the Uinta, up that stream and the Duchesne, and across the divide 
to the waters of Weber River by the first of July. Beckwourth states that he 
was accompanied on his return by fifty men: twenty, including Beckwourth, 
himself, to continue the entire distance with Ashley, and thirty to act as a 
guard to the place of navigation, whence they were to return to the moun- 

The Ashley Narrative 159 

a few miles east of our direct route. 307 I took with me 
20 men, passed by the place, raised the cache, and pro- 
ceeded in a direction to join the other party, but, pre- 
vious to joining them, I was twice attacked by Indians, 
first by a party of Blackf eet about 60 in number. They 
made their appearance at the break of day, yelling in 
the most hideous manner and using every means in their 
power to alarm our horses, which they so effectually 
did that the horses, although closely hobbled, broke by 
the guard and ran off. A part of the Indians being 
mounted, they succeeded in getting all the horses ex- 
cept two, and wounded one man. An attempt was also 
made to take our camp, but in that they failed. The 
following night, I sent an express to secure horses from 
the party of our men who had taken a direct route. 
In two days thereafter, I received the desired aid and 
again proceeded on my way, made about ten miles, and 
encamped upon an eligible situation. 308 That night, 
about 12 o'clock, we were again attacked by a war party 
of Crow Indians, which resulted in the loss of one of the 
Indians killed and another shot through the body, with- 
out any injury to us. 309 The next day I joined my other 

tains with the horses, which, he adds, were borrowed from the Hudson's 
Bay people. Kearny states that Ashley descended the Missouri with twenty- 
two men. Kearny, S. W. "Journal," Missouri Historical Society. Kearny 
Mss., Entry of August 27. 

307 This is probably the cache left by Thomas Fitzpatrick on his descent 
of the Platte in the summer of 1824. 

308 Presumably one of the attacks mentioned by Beckwourth, which he 
misdates by placing before rendezvous. While Beckwourth, acting under 
orders from Ashley, was conducting a detachment to rendezvous, he was at- 
tacked by Indians, soon after which, he met another detachment of Ashley's 
men which had likewise been attacked. In the former, Beckwourth dis- 
tinguished himself, he says, receiving a wound in the left arm; but this is 
another perversion of the facts to the greater glory of Jim Beckwourth. If 
he can be accepted at all on this affair, the wounded man mentioned by 
Ashley was either Beckwourth himself or William Sublette. Beckwourth 
also mentions the loss of the horses. Bonner, op. cit. t 74. 

809 Beckwourth mentions the night attack by the Crows, giving the In- 

160 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

party and proceeded direct to my place of embarkation 
just below the Big Horn mountain, where I arrived on 
the yth day of August. 

On my passage thither, I discovered nothing remark- 
able in the features of the country. It affords general- 
ly a smooth way to travel over. The only very rugged 
part of the route is in crossing the Big Horn Mountain, 
which is about 30 miles wide. I had the Big Horn 
river explored from Wind river mountain to my place 
of embarkation. 81 ' There is little or no difficulty in the 
navigation of that river from its mouth to Wind river 
mountain. 311 It may be ascended that far at a tolera- 

dian casualties as one killed and one shot through the body. He also mis- 
dates this, however, by placing it previous to their departure from rendez- 
vous. He adds a second, but bloodless, encounter with the Crows en route 
to the Big Horn. He further states that on the sixth day out, in the vicinity 
of the South Pass, one of the party, named Baptiste, "having a portion of a 
buffalo on his horse, came across a small stream flowing near the trail, where 
he halted to get a drink." While stooping to drink, a grizzly bear sprang 
upon him and lacerated him in a shocking manner. Bonner, op. cit., 76 ff. 
This story is confirmed by S. W. Kearny ["Journal," Kearny Mss., 50]. 

310 On reaching the point of embarkation on the Big Horn, five days 
were consumed in constructing boats with which to descend the stream. 
Bonner, op. cit., 81. 

311 Ashley followed the route of the Oregon trail, already traveled by 
Fitzpatrick, and, in part, by Bridger, Sublette, and Smith, through the South 
Pass to the upper stretches of the Sweetwater, thence north, perhaps down 
the Little Popo Agie to its confluence with Wind River and down the latter 
to the point where it enters the Big Horn Mountains to emerge on the other 
side as the Big Horn River. At the head of the canon, he despatched a 
party to proceed down the stream by boat, while he, with the remainder of 
the company, crossed the mountains, rejoining his men just below the site of 
Thermopolis. The distance across the Big Horn mountains he places ac- 
curately at thirty miles. James Bridger may have been one of the party who 
navigated the canon, for he told Lieutenant Raynolds, in 1859, that he once 
went through on a raft. Raynolds, W. F. "Report on the Exploration of the 
Yellowstone River" (Washington, 1868), in United States Senate, Executive 
Documents, 4oth congress, ad session, no. 77. Ashley probably selected this 
route for his return in preference to the one he had followed coming out in 
order to avail himself of water transportation, which was more expeditious 
and secure down-stream, and for which his men could construct their own 
boats. He might have gone down the North Platte in this manner, but 
Fitzpatrick's unfortunate mishap, the previous fall, together with his own 

Explorations of William Ashley 161 

ble stage of water with a boat drawing three feet water. 
The Yellowstone river is a beautiful river to navigate. 
It has rapids extending from above Powder river about 
fifty miles but I found about four feet water over the 
most. 312 

The Yellowstone expedition, under command of Gen- 
eral Atkinson, had been despatched to conclude a series 
of treaties with the tribes of the upper Missouri. On 
July 2, the day Ashley left his rendezvous, the expedi- 
tion had reached the mouth of the Teton River. On 
August 7, the date of Ashley's embarkation on the Big 
Horn, they were just leaving the Mandan villages, and 
ten days later they camped a little beyond the mouth of 
the Yellowstone at the site of Henry's abandoned post. 313 

experiences with canons and rapids no doubt induced him to take no chances 
with torrential streams. He had with him, also, a very valuable collection of 
furs, which made safety the first consideration. At the Yellowstone it may 
have occurred to him that he could secure government protection for the re- 
mainder of the way by descending with the so-called Yellowstone Expedi- 
tion. "Aug. 20, Gen'] Ashley (who has determined to detain his party and 
furs 'til we go below in order to be sure of a safe passage) is with us."- 
Kearny, S. W. "Journal," Kearny Mss. Last of all, his shortage of horses 
would induce him to select the water route. After the colossal difficulties 
encountered in bringing them in, he could scarcely afford to take many of 
them out again. The horses used to convey his furs to the Big Horn were 
sent back to the mountains for the use of his trappers or to be returned to 
the Hudson's Bay men, from whom he is said to have borrowed them. 

312 Ashley descended the Yellowstone arriving at its mouth, August 19, 
at noon. Kearny, S. W. "Journal," Kearny Mss.; Reeves, L. U. Life and 
Military Services of General William S. Harney (St. Louis, 1878), 67. Ac- 
cording to Beckwourth, while" the party were attempting to land at the 
mouth of the Yellowstone, one of the boats was sunk, "on board which was 
thirty packs of beaver skins, and away they went as rapidly as though they 
had been live beaver." All was noise and confusion in a minute, the gen- 
eral in a perfect ferment, shouting to his men to save the packs. Fortunate- 
ly there were good swimmers in the party who recovered the precious cargo. 
It was the turmoil and shouting which attracted some of Atkinson's troops 
in their encampment not far distant and led consequently, to the meeting of 
the two parties. Bonner, op. cit., 81. Ashley's narrative ends abruptly at 
this point. 

313 Kearny, S. W. "Journal," Kearny Mss., folio jiff. 

1 62 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

On the nineteenth, as if by prearrangement, Ashley ar- 
rived in his keel boat with a hundred or more packs of 
beaver skins, valued at from forty to seventy-five thou- 
sand dollars. 314 Stephen Watts Kearny, who accompa- 
nied the Yellowstone expedition, records his arrival thus, 
August 19 [1825] Gen'l. Ashley and party arrived today about 
noon with 100 packs of beaver skins from the mountains. He 
left Council Bluffs last November and wintered near the head- 
waters of the Platte. He has met with several nations of In- 
dians and had his horses stolen and his party fired upon by the 
Blackfeet (sic) and one of his men is severely injured from the 
attack by the White Bear. 315 

Atkinson had been commissioned to conclude a treaty 
with the Blackfeet, who, according to Ashley, would 
probably be found above the Great Falls of the Mis- 
souri, in which case they could not be reached with the 
boats of the expedition. As other tribes might be en- 
countered, however, it was decided to proceed some dis- 
tance farther up-stream. Ashley accompanied them. 
The party advanced about one hundred twenty miles 
to the mouth of the Porcupine. Finding, however, no 
trace of the Blackfeet or other tribes, they turned about 
and, by the twenty-sixth, were back again at the mouth 
of the Yellowstone. Next day, Ashley embarked his 
beaver on three government vessels and proceeded 
down-stream, accompanied by Jedediah Smith and a 
score of the men. 818 

814 Eighty to one hundred packs, value forty thousand dollars. - Nlles 
Register, November 5, 1825. One hundred thirty packs, value seventy-five 
thousand dollars. -Letter of N. J. Wyeth, November 3, 1833, in Young; 
Sources of. Oregon History, vol. i, 74. One hundred packs, Kearny, S. W. 
"Journal," folio 50, Kearny Mss. L. U. Reeves [op. cit., 67] gives the value 
as two hundred thousand dollars. 

815 Kearny, S. W. "Journal," folio 50, Kearny Mss. See also the reports 
of General Atkinson and Major O'Fallon to the Secretary of War, in United 
States House, Executive Documents, i9th congress, ist session, vol. vi, no. 117. 

316 Atkinson, Henry. "Report," Idem; Lyman, H. S. History of Oregon, 

Explorations of William Ashley 163 

"No incident worthy of mention occurred on the way 
down except the wrecking of the Muskrat on a snag 
three miles above the mouth of James River. The boat 
was repaired and Ashley's fur was saved." 817 At Fort 
Look-out, ten miles above the present Chamberlain, 
South Dakota, they met Joshua Pilcher, who, accord- 
ing to Beckwourth, manifested his good-will toward 
Ashley by making him a present of a large grizzly bear 
for a plaything. Beckwourth states 318 

And a pretty plaything we found him before we were done with 
him. He was made fast with a chain to the cargo box on 
deck, and seemed to think himself Captain ; at any rate, he was 
more imperious in his orders than a Commodore on a foreign 
station. He would suffer no one on deck, and seemed literally 
to apply the poet's words to himself, 

"I am monarch of all I survey, 

My right there is none to dispute." 

When they reached St. Louis and 

After the peltry was all landed and stored, the bear still occu- 
pied his station. Hundreds were yet gazing at him, many of 
whom had never seen one of the kind before. The general said 
to me, "James, how, under the sun, are we to get that animal 
off the boat?" I, having a few glasses of "artificial courage" to 
back me, felt exceedingly valorous, and thought myself able to 
throw a mill-stone across the Mississippi. Accordingly, I vol- 
unteered to bring him ashore. I procured a light stick, walked 
straight up to the bear, and, speaking very sharp to him (as he 
had to us all the way down the river), deliberately unfastened 
his chain. He looked me in the eyes for a moment, and, giving 
a low whine, drooped his head. I led him off the boat along a 
staging prepared for the purpose, the crowd instantly falling 
back to a respectful distance. Landing him without accident, 
the general wished me to lead him to the residence of Major 

vol. iii, 61. De Bow, J. B. Industrial Resources, vol. iii, 517. Niles Register, 
November 6, 1830. Compare Letter of William Cunningham, footnote 438. 

317 Bonner, op. cit., 83. The catastrophe occurred September 13, Kearny, 
S. W. "Journal," folio 54. Kearny Mss. 

318 Bonner, op. cit., 85. 

164 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Biddle, distant a quarter of a mile from the landing. Cour- 
ageous as ever, I led him on, though some of the time he would 
lead his leader, Bruin often looking round at the crowd that was 
following up at a prudent distance behind. I arrived safe at 
the residence, and made Grizzly fast to an apple-tree that stood 
there. I had scarcely got to the length of his chain, when he 
made a furious spring at me ; the chain, very fortunately, was a 
strong one, and held him fast. 

I then called at the major's house, and, delivering our gen- 
eral's compliments to him, informed him he had sent a pet for 
his acceptance. He inquired what kind of a pet and, taking 
him to the tree where I had made fast the bear, I showed the 
huge beast to him. The major almost quaked with fear. While 
we stood looking at him, a small pig happened to pass near the 
bear, when Grizzly dealt him such a blow with his paw that he 
left him not a whole bone in his body, and piggy fell dead out 
of the bear's reach. 

The major invited me in, and, setting out some of his best, I 
drank his health according to the custom of those days, and left 
to rejoin my companions. 

On the nineteenth of September, the combined com- 
panies reached Council Bluffs. 319 Three days later, 
Ashley and Smith departed for St. Louis, where they 
arrived about the eighth of October. Twenty miles 
above the city, at St. Charles, Ashley despatched a cour- 
ier to his financial agents, Wahndorf and Tracy, in- 
forming them of his great success and of his imminent 
arrival. A veritable celebration greeted them at St. 
Louis. Beckwourth says, 

We were saluted by a piece of artillery, which continued its 
discharges until we landed at the market-place. There were 
not less than a thousand persons present, who hailed our landing 
with shouts which deafened our ears. 820 

On disposing of his furs, Ashley not only cleared him- 
self of debt, but was left with sufficient capital to set 

S. W. "Journal," Kearny Mss., folio 61. 
320 Bonner, op. '/., 86. For two days, Beckwourth drank at the gener- 
al's expense. 

Explorations of William Ashley 165 

about preparing another expedition for the following 
spring, the last which he personally accompanied. 321 
This expedition and his further connection with the fur 
trade may be briefly summarized. 

He left St. Louis in March, 1826, with a hundred 
horses and mules and fifty men, accompanied by Jede- 
diah Smith, Moses [Black] Harris, and William Sub- 
lette, the latter having come out of the mountains dur- 
ing the winter, probably by way of the Sweetwater and 
North Platte. 322 Following his trace of 1824 as far as 
the forks of the Platte, Ashley there turned up the 
North Platte, guided by Harris and Sublette, along the 
main road through the South Pass. As spring was ap- 
proaching, an ample supply of grass was available. Re- 
ports of their approach preceded them, and prepara- 
tions were made by the men left in the mountains the 
previous year to conduct" rendezvous at Great Salt 
Lake. 323 Ashley's route from the South Pass lay down 
the Sandys to Green River, which he followed some 
distance, and then, crossing the divide, "descended a 
river, believed to be the Buenaventura, about one hun- 
dred and fifty miles to the Great Salt Lake." 324 

During his absence, Ashley's men had spent the 
summer of 1825 in trapping on the waters of Salt River, 
Green River, Bear River, and along the tributaries of 
these streams. Beckwourth, according to his own 
story, had been sent back by Ashley to the mountains in 

321 Wyeth, N. J. Letter of November 8, 1823, in Young, Sources of 
Oregon History, vol. 5, 74. 

322 Bonner, op. cit., 96; Niles Register, December 9, 1826. Among the 
men were some who later accompanied Jedediah Smith to California, in- 
cluding, perhaps, Harrison G. Rogers. 

323 Called by Beckwourth "Weaver" [Weber] Lake, Bonner, op. cit., 101. 

824 Niles Register, December 9, 1826. If this statement is correct, it would 
indicate that he reached Great Salt Lake by following Bear River instead 
of by the more direct, but as yet, difficult route down Echo Canon and Weber 

1 66 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

the late fall of 1825, rejoining the men just as winter 
was coming on. 825 The parties had separated widely 
for the fall hunt but had finally gathered in Cache 
Valley for winter. For some unknown reason, how- 
ever, William Sublette, who seems to have been in 
charge, ordered the men to remove to Great Salt Lake. 
They had, accordingly, moved to the mouth of Weber 
River, probably near the site of the present city of 
Ogden, where they established themselves for the win- 
ter, numbering, with their Indian comrades, six to seven 
hundred souls. During the winter they had the mis- 
fortune to lose about eighty horses, stolen by a maraud- 
ing band of Bannock Indians. As soon as the loss had 
been discovered, a party of forty was selected to follow 
them on foot. Arriving before the villages, the small 
force was divided, Fitzpatrick commanding one con- 
tingent and James Bridger the other. Fitzpatrick's 
party charged the Indians, while Bridger's men ran off 
the horses. With no losses themselves, they managed 
to rout the enemy, whose number Beckwourth placed 
at from three hundred to four hundred, and stampeded 
two to three hundred horses, some of which the Indians 
afterward recovered. When the little force got back 
to winter quarters, they still had, however, forty ad- 
ditional horses. 

In the spring of 1826, the entire company, together 
with the Indians, returned to Cache Valley where the 
furs were deposited. 326 It was very likely just before 
their removal from Great Salt Lake that a party of four 
men was despatched to make a closer examination of 
the shores of the lake. They were sent to discover 
any fur bearing affluents and to locate the river which 
was supposed to flow out of the western side of the lake 

326 Bonner, op. cit., 93 ff. 
, 96. 

Explorations of William Ashley 167 

into the sea. It took them about twenty-four days to 
make the circuit. "They did not exactly ascertain its 
outlet but passed a place where they supposed it must 
have been." 327 

The spring hunt was conducted beyond the Interior 
Basin along the tributaries of Snake River as far west 
as Raft River and thence to Snake River itself and the 
Portneuf. 328 Here, on the ninth of April, a detach- 
ment of twenty-eight fell in with Peter Skene Ogden, 
commanding the Snake country expedition of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company, who recognized among the Amer- 
icans some of the men who had deserted him the previ- 
ous year. 329 After camping near each other for two 
days, the two companies separated, the Americans mov- 
ing up the Portneuf, the English down the stream. 330 
Returning to the Interior Basin again, Ashley's men 
were busily engaged on Sage Creek, a tributary of Bear 
River, when they learned from Ashley's couriers of the 

327 Niles Register, December 9, 1826. Robert Campbell in a letter of 
April 4, 1857, to Lieutenant G. K. Warren says, "In the spring of 1826, some 
men went in skin boats around it [Great Salt Lake] to discover if any 
streams containing beaver were to be found emptying into it, but returned 
with indifferent success. 

"I went to Willow or Cache valley in the spring of 1826 and found the 
party just returned from the exploration of the lake." - Pacific Railroad Re- 
port, vol. xi, 35. 

This corresponds exactly with Beckwourth's narrative. Bonner, op. cit. 
101. Captain Bonneville professed to doubt the genuineness of this explora- 
tion, because the men were alleged to have suffered from thirst, although, as 
a matter of fact, objects Bonneville, there are a number of fine streams en- 
tering the lake. Irving, W. Rocky Mountain Sketches (Philadelphia, 1837), 
vol. i, 208 ff. J. H. Simpson [Report of Exploration across the Great Basin 
(Washington, 1876), 16, note k] sufficiently answers Bonneville's objections, 
citing Howard Stansbury, Expedition to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of 
Utah (Philadelphia, 1855), 103. 

328 Ogden, P. S. "Journal," entry of March 20, 1826, Oregon Historical 
Society, Quarterly, vol. x, 356; entry of May 21, 1826, idem, vol. x, 361. 

329 Entry of April 9, 1826, idem, vol. x, 359. 

330 Entry of April n, 1826, idem, vol. x, 360. 

1 68 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

latter's approach. Hastily packing up, they repaired 
to Great Salt Lake, where they arrived just before Ash- 
ley and Sublette. 881 

This was Ashley's first and only visit to the Great 
Salt Lake. 332 At the rendezvous, following his arrival, 
he sold his business to three of his former associates, 
Smith, Jackson, and Sublette, disposing of the Indian 
goods he had on hand at an advance of one hundred 
fifty per cent, the sum to be paid within five years in 
beaver skins at five dollars a pound or in cash, optional 
with the purchasers. 333 After the sale had been com- 
pleted, Ashley, according to Beckwourth, delivered a 
touching farewell address to his men and at once set 

831 Bonner, op, cit., 100, 101, 107. 

832 He is said to have built a fort on or near the shores of Utah Lake. 
Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 279, vol. iii, 973. Chittenden places 
the erection of this fort in 1825. T. C. Elliott ["Peter Skene Ogden Journals," 
Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 365] suggests that he built a 
post on Sevier Lake. That a fort was constructed somewhere in the vicinity 
of Great Salt Lake is certain, but it was probably built by Ashley's men 
during the winter of 1825-1826 or, more probably, in 1826, by Ashley's suc- 
cessors, who purchased through him a four-pound cannon, which was dragged 
out the next year. The post seems to have been located near the Great Salt 
Lake itself rather that on Utah Lake. Peter Skene Ogden refers to the 
American post at "Salt Lake" in 1827 and 1828. Ogden, P. S. "Journal," 
Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 365, 368, 369. "Tullock, the 1 
American, who failed to get through the snow to Salt Lake, tried to engage 
an Indian to carry letters to the American deposit at Salt Lake." -Idem, 
vol. xi, 372. It was from Great Salt Lake, furthermore, that Smith set out 
on his expedition to the southwest in August, 1826. Ms. draft of a letter of 
W. H. Ashley, December 24, 1828, Missouri Historical Society, Ashley Mss. 

ass Ogden, P. S. "Journal," entry of January 5, 1828, Oregon Historical 
Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 368 ff. Letter of W. H. Ashley, December 24, 
1828, Ashley Mss., Missouri Historical Society. Letter of Thomas Forsyth to 
the Secretary of War, St Louis, October 24, 1831, in United States Senate, 
Executive Documents, 226. congress, ist session, vol. ii, no. 90. Joshua 
Pilcher, "Report," idem. N. J. Wyeth in a letter of November 8, 1833, says 
that Ashley sold out for thirty thousand dollars. Young, F. G. Sources of 
Oregon History, vol. i, 74. Beckwourth states that arrangements had been 
made for this transaction before Ashley reached rendezvous. Bonner, op. 
cit., 107. The original instrument is in the Sublette Mss., carton n, Missouri 
Historical Society. 

Explorations of William Ashley 169 

out for St. Louis. 334 Returning not by water, as in 
1825, but by land, he reached the city seventy days af- 
ter leaving rendezvous. 335 The supply of grass along 
the route was more than ample for his horses. "The 
men also found an abundance of food; they say there 
was no day in which they could not have subsisted a 
thousand men, and often ten thousand." 336 He retired 
a rich man, having made a fortune in furs amounting 
to eighty thousand dollars, it is said. 337 

Ashley continued to retain an indirect interest in the 
trade, though he made no further visits to the moun- 
tains in person. Instead, he furnished Smith, Jackson, 
and Sublette with goods from the states, accepting their 
furs in payment. For three years, at least, he sent such 
supply trains to the mountains. Later, after Smith, 
Jackson, and Sublette had sold out to Fitzpatrick, Sub- 
lette, and Bridger, he still acted as agent for the latter, 
receiving in a single year three thousand dollars as com- 

mission. 338 

334 Bonner, op. cit., in. 

Register, December 9, 1826. 

337 Ogden, P. S. "Journal," in Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. 
xi, 368 ff. Wyeth says that after his obligations were all settled, he was 
worth fifty thousand dollars. Young, F. G. Sources of Oregon History, vol. 

, 74- 

338 "Washington City, 24th February, 1833. 
"Wm. L. Sublette, My account against Jackson and Sublette for commission 
on sales in 1831 to 1832 $3 ooo. 

(signed) W. H. ASHLEY." 
Sublette Mss., carton i, Missouri Historical Society. 

"[Ashley] has sold out to Messers Jackson, Sublette, and Smith, and now 
has nothing more to do with the business either in hunting or trading about 
the mountains. He brings on goods etc. from the eastward to this city [St. 
Louis] and furnishes Jackson, Sublette, and Smith with all they require, and 
receives annually from them their furs in payment." - Biddle, Thomas. 
"Report," October 29, 1831, in United States Senate. Executive Documents, 
i6th congress, ist session, vol. i, no. 47. "I (with the exception of a small 
outfit made last year by Major Pilcher) have furnished every article during 

170 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

For a time, Ashley's successors continued to reap 
huge profits from the business. In the first year alone, 
they cleared twenty thousand dollars, 839 while by 1828, 
the total value of all furs brought out to that date either 
by Ashley himself or his successors, totaled, by Ashley's 
estimate, two hundred twenty thousand dollars. 340 But 
this fortunate state of affairs could not endure. Until 
1827, no other American company had penetrated the 
Interior Basin, so that the only competition which the 
Ashley and post- Ashley companies had to face was that 
of the Hudson's Bay Company. When, however, in 
1830, the firm of Fitzpatrick, Sublette, and Bridger, 
operating under the name of the Rocky Mountain Fur 
Company, succeeded Smith, Jackson, and Sublette, the 
conditions of the trade had materially altered. 341 Com- 
petition had begun. Joshua Pilcher, representing the 
old Missouri Fur Company interests, had entered the 
field in 1827, while already the great American Fur 
Company, the most dangerous of all competitors, had 
begun to undermine the virtual monopoly enjoyed by 
Ashley's successors west of the mountains. The Amer- 
ican Fur Company, in fact, had a half interest in the 

the period." -Ms. letter of W. H. Ashley, December 26, 1828, Ashley Mss. t 
Missouri Historical Society. In 1833 Maximilian speaks of the fur company 
of Messrs. Ashley and Soublette. See Thwaites, Early Western Travels, 
vol. xxii, 250. 

339 Ogden, "Journal," Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 368 ff. 

340 Ms. draft of a letter of W. H. Ashley, December 26, 1828. Ashley 
Mss., Missouri Historical Society. 

341 Smith, Jackson, and Sublette "followed it up with equal good for- 
tune for a time, but it was not to be expected that such a series of rich re- 
turns would fail to command the attention of others." -Pilcher, Joshua. "Re- 
port," December i, 1831, in United States Senate, Executive Documents, 22d 
congress, ist session, vol. i, no. 90. Pilcher was one of those who entered 
the field against them. "It is to be observed, finding themselves alone, they 
[Smith, Jackson, and Sublette] sold their goods one third dearer than Ashley 
did, but have held out a promise of reduction in price this year. What a 
contrast between these young men and myself! They have been only six 
years in the country and without a doubt in as many more will be inde- 

Explorations of William Ashley 171 

supply train which Ashley despatched to the mountains 
in the spring of iSzy. 342 

This left St. Louis in March, 1827, conducted by 
sixty men. Included with the usual goods, was a piece 
of artillery, a four-pounder, mounted on a primitive 
carriage drawn by mules. 343 Despite his resolve of the 
previous summer, Ashley accompanied the expedition 
as far as the frontier, where, it is said, he was com- 
pelled to return on account of sickness, leaving the com- 
mand in other hands. The expedition selected the now 
familiar route by way of the North Platte and South 
Pass to Green River and thence to the vicinity of the 
Great Salt Lake, drawing along as they went the first 
wheeled vehicle to cross the mountains, although two 
years before, Ashley had recognized the perfect feasi- 
bility of using even wagons. 344 Arrived at rendezvous, 
which seems to have been conducted this year not at 
Great Salt Lake or Cache Valley but at Bear Lake, 
they found Jackson and Sublette in charge and Jede- 

pendent men." - Ogden, P. S. "Journal," Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, 
vol. xi, 369. 

342 "What the Rocky Mountains will produce cannot be known for months 
to come, but by the accounts from Ashley's district, it seems probable that he 
will be quite as successful as last season. You will have learned that we 
hold a half interest in Ashley's expedition and that profits are fair." - Letter 
of Ramsay Crooks to J. J. Astor, St. Louis, Apri 13, 1827, Missouri Historical 
Society. Crooks Mss. (copy). The American Fur Company were probably 
dealing through Bernard Pratte and Company. Compare Chittenden, Amer- 
ican Fur Trade, vol. i, 280, 322. 

343 Letter of W. H. Ashley to General A. Macomb, Washington, March 
1829, in United States Senate, Executive Documents, 2ist congress, 2d session, 
vol. i, no. 39. 

844 Compare Atkinson, "Report," Louisville, Kentucky, November 23, 
1825, in United States House, Executive Documents, i9th congress, ist ses- 
sion, vol. vi, no. 117. Compare Niles Register, December 9, 1826: "Wagons 
and carriages could go with ease as far as General Ashley went, crossing 
the Rocky mountains at the sources of the North fork of the Platte, and 
descending the valley of the Buenaventura toward the Pacific Ocean." See 
also St. Louis Reveille, March i, 1847. 

172 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

diah Smith but lately returned from his first visit to 
California, full of the details of his hardships and of 
the strange civilization of the Pacific coast which he 
was the first American to approach by land. The sup- 
plies, including the four-pounder, were left with the 
company and, on July 17, the train started back for the 
states. Ashley seems to have met them at Lexington, 
relieved them of their furs, one hundred thirty packs in 
all, and started them back for the mountains with the 
same outfit. 345 Reaching the Rockies late in November, 
they found their way blocked by snow, and were unable 
to get through to Great Salt Lake that winter. 848 

Although Ashley continued to send outfits of sup- 
plies to the mountains, his chief interest and occupation 
from this point were politics. Elected lieutenant-gov- 
ernor of Missouri in 1821, three years later on the ex- 
piration of his term, he ran for governor, but was de- 
feated by Frederick Bates. 347 In the course of the 
campaign, Ashley's friends made much of his daring, 

a * 5 Chittenden [American Fur Trade, vol. i, 279] states that "he took a 
six-pounder wheeled cannon through to Utah lake and installed it in his 
post there [1826]." The fact of the matter is that Ashley, as he himself 
says, sent the .cannon, a four-pounder, but in the year 1827. "In the month 
of March, 1827, I fitted out a party of 60 men, mounted a piece of artillery 
(a four-pounder) on a carriage which was drawn by two mules; the party 
marched to or near the grand Salt Lake, beyond the Rocky mountains, re- 
mained there one month, stopped on their way back 15 days, and returned 
to Lexington in the western part of Missouri in September, where the party 
was met with everything necessary for another expedition, and did return 
(using the same horses and mules) to the mountains by the last of November 
in the same year." - Letter of W. H. Ashley to General A. Macomb, Wash- 
ington, March, 1829, in United States Senate, Executive Documents, 2ist 
congress, ad session, vol. i, no. 39. 

346 Ogden, P. S. "Journal," entry of February 16, 1828, in Oregon Histori- 
cal Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 374. 

3 * 7 Switzler, W. F. "General William Henry Ashley," in American 
Monthly Magazine, vol. xxxii, 323 ff. ; Davis, W. B. and D. S. Durrie. An 
Illustrated History of Missouri, 86; Edwards's Great West, 337. Switzler 
erroneously states that Lafayette was entertained by Ashley on his visit to 
St. Louis, April, 1825. Ashley was, of course, in the mountains at that time. 

Explorations of William Ashley 173 

the romantic character of his business, and his ambitious 
enterprise in pushing the trade into the unknown wilds 
of the far West. On his retirement from active busi- 
ness with a considerable fortune, he was in a position 
to give more serious attention to politics. In 1829, he 
sought election to the United States Senate but was 
defeated. 348 Shortly after, however, his opportunity 
came. In 1831, Spencer Pettis, congressman from 
Missouri, was killed in a duel by Thomas Biddle, and 
Ashley was at once selected as a candidate for the re- 
mainder of Pettis's term. Though actively supported 
by the anti -Jackson men in the western part of the state, 
his friends were not over sanguine of his success. He 
was, nevertheless, elected. 349 He had been a member 
of Congress only a year when he was forced to under- 
take another political campaign to secure his reelection. 
Again he won by a close margin. In 1835, he ran 
again, this time as an anti- Van Buren man and was 
again elected, his term expiring with the last session of 
the twenty- fourth Congress, in the spring of i837. 350 

During his career in Congress, Ashley showed him- 
self an active and determined champion of the West. 
Henry Dodge, writing to George W. Jones, delegate 
from Michigan Territory, spoke of him as a man, who, 

348 SwitzIer, W. F. "Historical Sketch of Missouri," in Barns, Com- 
monwealth of Missouri (St. Louis, 1878), part ii, 222. 

349 "The anti-Jackson men in this quarter are almost to a man in favor 
of Gen. Ashley for Congress. We expect a small majority for him in this 
county, although the caucus men are making powerful exertions in favor of 
Wells. I expect these four upper counties (Lafayette, Jackson, Clay, and 
Ray) will give a small, very small majority for Wells. . . I think the 
General must be elected." - Ms. letter of James Aull to George C. Sibley, 
Lexington, Missouri, October 22, 1831, Sibley Mss., vol. ii, Missouri Historical 

350 Davis, W. B. and D. S. Durrie. Illustrated History of Missouri, 101, 
103, 108, 109. Switzler, W. F. "General William Henry Ashley," American 
Monthly Magazine, vol. xxxii, 325. 

174 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

like Benton and Linn, could invariably be counted on to 

support western interests. 

I have been on the most intimate and friendly terms with Gen- 
eral Ashley for thirty years, and I have never had a more true 
and consistent friend. If I were to make a selection of my per- 
sonal friends, three in whom I have as much confidence as any 
on earth, it would be Dr. Linn, Gen. Ashley, and yourself. 851 

Ashley's intimate knowledge of so large a section of the 
far West entitled his opinions in matters touching In- 
dian affairs and the economic and fiscal problems of the 
west to respectful attention. He served as member of 
the House Committee on Indian affairs and always 
used his influence in support of what he believed to be 
the best interests of both races. He had small patience 
with the sentimentalists in Congress who habitually ex- 
aggerated the Indian sense of honor and who were ever 
ready to attribute to the savage mind concepts of gov- 
ernment and of law, which Ashley well knew were 
completely and utterly foreign to it. He opposed ex- 
cessive appropriations for the Indian Department, in- 
cluding remuneration for special service rendered by 
the Indian agents in the pursuit of their duties. He 
had, he said, "been exposed to great dangers and losses 
from the Indians and never in all that time had he 
found more than two agents at their stations." 352 He 
was, in fact, utterly opposed to the existing Indian poli- 
cy of the government. He believed in abolishing the 
Indian office altogether and having all Indian agents 
appointed by the President with the approval of the 
Senate. He saw the danger both for the whites and the 
Indians if the two races were brought into too close 
proximity, and advocated the creation of a neutral strip 

851 Fort Leavenworth, January 28, 1836, in Annals of Iowa, third series, 
vol. iii, 295 ff. 

352 Gales and Seaton. Register of Debates, vol. viii, part 2, 2317, March 
30, 1832. 

Explorations of William Ashley 175 

thirty miles wide between the last white settlements and 
the Indian tribes. He saw that this would prevent the 
Indians from too readily molesting the whites and at 
the same time would make it more difficult for them to 
secure spirituous liquors, which he frankly recognized 
as the most dangerous influence among them. 353 He 
was emphatically opposed to "buying" peace with the 
Indians, as he called it, which meant the awarding of 
money "to such friendly Indians as may take refuge on 
our frontier during the existing difficulties with other 
Indian tribes." 354 

No one ever questioned his loyalty to his constituents. 
One of his first speeches in Congress was in support of 
an amendment to the Apportionment bill which would 
give his state additional representation in Congress. 355 
The amendment, however, was lost. All measures that 
looked to public improvements in Missouri naturally 
had his heartiest sanction. On May 5, 1832, he secured 
an amendment to the Internal Improvement Appropri- 
ation Bill, expending fifty thousand dollars for the im- 
provement of navigation on the Missouri River. 356 All 
measures for improving western waterways he support- 
ed vigorously. 357 In June, 1834, he tried to secure an 
appropriation of twenty-five thousand dollars to im- 
prove the harbor of St. Louis, which was in danger of 
being destroyed by a sand bar, but in vain. 858 In March, 
1835, ne tried to tack an appropriation of twenty thou- 
sand dollars to the Lighthouse Bill for a similar object, 

ass Gales and Seaton. Register of Debates, vol. viii, part 2, 2329, 2358, 
March 31, 1832, April 3, 1832. 

354 Idem, vol. viii, part 3, 3238, June i, 1832; vol. x, part 3, 4080, May 
5, 1834. 

855 Idem, vol. viii, part 2, 1778. 

856 Idem, vol. viii, part 2, 2804, May 5, 1832. 

357 Idem, vol. x, part 3, 41375?., May 17, 1834; vol. x, part 4, 4544, 
June 18, 1834; vol. x, part 4, 4569; vol. xii, part 4, 4390, June 22, 1836. 

358 Idem, vol. x, part 4, 4694 ff., June 23, 1834. 

176 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

but was induced to withdraw his amendment. 851 Sim- 
ilarly with roads. He proposed an amendment to the 
Internal Improvement Appropriation Bill, May 5, 
1832, providing for the extension of the National high- 
way from Vandalia, Illinois, to Jefferson City, Mis- 
souri. 380 In 1836, he tried an amendment to the Forti- 
fication Bill for the same purpose but again without 
success. 361 One of his last speeches, February 1 1, 1837, 
was a violent arraignment of the proposal to receive in 
Congress petitions from slaves. 362 

With the dissolution of the twenty-fourth Congress, 
Ashley retired from public life. In 1836, he had run 
for governor of Missouri but had been defeated by Lil- 
burn W. Boggs of anti-Mormon fame. 363 After Ash- 
ley's return to St. Louis from Washington, Daniel 
Webster paid a visit to the city. At a public festival 
given in his honor in a grove of trees just west of Ninth 
street, General Ashley presided. The chronicler of the 
event in describing the celebration, says, "A sumptuous 
dinner plentifully supplied with choice liquors soon put 
the whole company on the most sociable footing, and 
speeches and complimentary toasts were made and 
drank with all the zest of happy feeling and festive en- 
joyment." At the close of the dinner, Mr. Webster de- 
livered a speech of more than an hour's duration. 364 

Ashley had built a magnificent house in what is now 
North St. Louis. It was situated on a high bluff over- 
looking the river, surrounded by about eight acres of 
land which he had purchased on his retirement from 

389 Gales and Seaton. Register of Debates, vol. xi, part 2, 1642, March 

360 Idem, vol. viii, part 2, 2804. 

361 Idem, vol. xii, part 4, 4175, June 4, 1836. 

382 Idem, vol. xiii, part 2, 1710, February n, 1837. 

sea Davis, W. B. and D. S. Durrie. Illustrated History of Missouri, 109. 

3 * Edwards'* Great West, 362. 

Explorations of William Ashley 177 

the fur trade. In 1838, however, because of failing 
health, he abandoned this home to retire to the country, 
occupying the house of his father-in-law, Dr. James 
Wynne Moss, near the mouth of Lamine River, Cooper 
County. But even the change of environment and a 
physician's care were incapable of restoring him and on 
March twenty-sixth, 1838, he succumbed to a sudden 
attack of pneumonia. "Just previous to his death, he 
sent in haste for Benjamin Thompkins, then a young 
lawyer of Boonville, to visit him at once to draw up 
his will. He obeyed the summons; but the testament 
was not completed, for when about half written, Gen- 
eral Ashley died." 365 A widow survived him. 366 

Ashley's opinions were widely sought on matters re- 
lating to the fur trade, Indian affairs, and the West in 
general. He prepared reports on such matters for 
Colonel Henry Atkinson, 367 Thomas Hart Benton, 368 
General Macomb, 369 Colonel Gratiot of the Corps of 
Engineers, 370 Albert Gallatin, 371 and others. 372 

365 Switzler, W. F. "General William Henry Ashley," in American Month- 
ly Magazine, vol. xxxii, 321 ff. 

866 Ashley was married three times. His second wife was Miss Eliza 
Christy whom he married, October 26, 1825. She died, June 12, 1830. In 
October, 1832, he married Mrs. Elizabeth Moss Wilcox, daughter of Dr. 
James W. Moss, of Boone County, Missouri. Compare Switzler, op. cit., 
327 ff., and Collections of Newspaper Excerpts, Missouri Historical Society. 

367 United States House. Executive Documents, 19th congress, ist session, 
vol. vi, no. 117. 

388 United States Senate. Executive Documents, 2Oth congress, 2d session, 
vol. i, no. 67. 

369 United States Senate. Executive Documents, 2ist congress, 2d session, 
vol. i, no. 39. 

870 Draft of a letter by Ashley, Missouri Historical Society, Ashley Mss. 

371 Gallatin, Albert. "Synopsis of Indian Tribes," in American Anti- 
quarian Society, Transactions, vol. ii, 140. 

372 Missouri Intelligencer, July 8, 1823. Drafts of Ashley's letters, Ashley 
Mss., Missouri Historical Society. McCoy, Reverend Isaac. "Journal," De- 
cember 23, 1835, folio 67, McCoy Mss., Kansas Historical Society. 

III. Jedediah Strong Smith 

Jedediah Strong Smith, unlike most of his contem- 
poraries in the fur trade, came of pioneer New Eng- 
land stock. His father, plain Jedediah Smith, a na- 
tive of New Hampshire, following that first stream of 
emigration into the Mohawk Valley, settled in Chenan- 
go County, New York, toward the close of the eight- 
eenth century. Here, on June 24, 1798, in the town 
of Bainbridge, his son, Jedediah Strong, was born, be- 
ing one of fourteen children. 373 Subsequently his 
parents pushed farther west living for a time in Erie, 
Pennsylvania, and finally in Ashtabula, Ohio. 

During his childhood, Smith acquired from a friend- 
ly physician, Dr. Simons, "the rudiments, of an Eng- 
lish education, and a smattering of Latin," and a fair 
hand. 374 All through his life, Smith retained a warm 
affection and respect for this gentleman, whose daugh- 
ter later married one of Smith's brothers. It may very 
well have been he who first suggested to Smith the 
utility of making a careful geographical study of the 
far West, an object which Smith had seriously in mind 

373 Smith, E. D. "Jedediah Smith and the Settlement of Kansas" in Kan- 
sas Historical Society, Collections, vol. xii, 242, footnote. Compare "Captain 
Jedediah Strong Smith: An Eulogy," Illinois Magazine, June, 1832, re- 
printed as an appendix in Sabin, Kit Carson Days (Chicago, 1914), 512 S. 
Smith was not born in King's County, Ireland, as stated by Hugh Quigley 
[Irish Race in California'], nor in Connecticut, as stated by J. M. Guinn 
["Captain Jedediah S. Smith," Southern California Historical Society, Pub- 
lications, vol. Hi, part 4, 46]. 

374 There is still extant a shipper's manifest made out by Smith at the 
age of fourteen for a cargo of goods shipped on Lake Erie, "written in a 
elear and distinct hand." - Guinn, op. cit., loc. at. 

180 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

during the last years of his life. In 1830, Smith wrote 
one of his brothers, 

I am indebted to Doctor Simons for his epistle dated, March 15, 
1 830, and I wish you to express my gratitude in becoming terms 
of respect. I fear that Doctor Simons thinks I only feel bound 
where I sign my name, but, if so, he to whom I am under so 
many obligations, is much mistaken. How happy I should con- 
sider myself if I could again be allowed the privilege of spend- 
ing some time with my much esteemed friend. I think the 
Doctor recollects this excellent precept, "If you have one Friend, 
feel or think yourself happy." I hope I have one friend. On 
my arrival at the settlements (should I be so fortunate as to gain 
that point), I intend writing to Doctor Simons. 375 

It may have been he, too, who gave Smith that deep 
religious sentiment which marked him off from the 
mass of the men with whom he was associated. Before 
he left home, Smith became a member of the Methodist 
church, and though most of his life far from the minis- 
trations of religion, remained a devout Christian. 878 
Finally, in making arrangements to expend the small 
fortune he had accumulated in the fur trade, he wrote, 
"In the first place, my brother, our parents must re- 
ceive of our benefaction, and if Dr. Simons is in want, 
I wish him to be helped." 377 

At the age of thirteen, Smith secured a clerical posi- 
tion on one of the freight boats of the Great Lakes, 

375 Letter of Smith to his brother, Ralph, dated Blue Fork, Kansas River, 
September 10, 1830, Kansas Historical Society, Smith Mss. Again he writes, 
"I wish to consult Dr. Simons on the method of educating our brothers as it 
is my wish to carry them into some of the higher branches of education." - 
Ibid, to ibid., dated Wind River, east of the Rocky Mountains, December 24, 
1829, Kansas Historical Society, Smith Mss. 

876 Waldo, William. "Reminiscences," Missouri Historical Society, Waldo 
Mss.; Smith, op. cit., vol. xii, 254. The "Eulogy," however, states that "with 
out being connected with any church, he was a Christian." - Sabin, E. L. Kit 
Carson Days, 517. 

377 Letter of Jedediah S. Smith to Ralph Smith, December 24, 1829, Kan- 
sas Historical Society, Smith Mss. 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 181 

where he soon had occasion to meet traders and trap- 
pers of the English fur companies, who were ever pass- 
ing back and forth between Montreal and the interior 
country. A natural roving disposition, which has so 
frequently characterized the stock of which he came, 
with a determination to better himself, attracted Smith 
to this occupation, which seemed to offer so much in the 
way of adventure and profit. Being an American, he 
naturally repaired to St. Louis, the entrepot of the fur 
trade of this country, arriving in time to join one of 
Ashley's early expeditions to the mountains. 378 

The first incident in this period of Smith's career 
that can be fixed beyond question is his participation in 
the engagement with the Arikaras in i823. 379 Smith 
was with the detachment that camped on land with the 
horses at the time of the first encounter. \He and David 
E. Jackson, after having rought bravely round the ani- 
mals till most of them were dead, made their way to 
the shore, leaped into the river and managed to swim 

378 The date of his arrival is uncertain. The "Eulogy" gives 1821. 
Sabin, op. cit., 512. Chittenden [American Fur Trade, vol. i, 252] says, 
"At about eighteen years of age," i.e. 1816. E. D. Smith states that he was 
in St. Louis in 1818, where he immediately undertook an expedition to Santa 
Fe "on his own account." On his return, he left Santa Fe, says Smith, by 
way of Taos "for some reason unknown," thence "going north and west, he 
reached the Great Salt Lake, and turning north and east reached the head- 
waters of the Platte River." Here he is alleged to have fallen in with some 
trappers with whom he descended that stream, arriving in St. Louis some 
time in the winter of 1819-1820. In 1822, according to Smith, he guided 
William Becknell to Santa Fe, returning the same year "to St. Louis, and 
thence to Wayne County, Ohio, to pay a visit to his brother Ralph." -Smith, 
op. cit., vol. xii, 254 ff. These early travels of Smith, it need hardly be add- 
ed, can not be substantiated by any evidence available. Gregg, moreover, 
refers to Smith in 1832 as being unfamiliar with the Santa Fe route, "Cap- 
tain Smith and his companions were new beginners in the Santa Fe trade, 
but being veteran pioneers of the Rocky Mountains, they concluded they 
could go anywhere." - Gregg, Josiah. Commerce of the Prairies, in Thwaites, 
Early Western Travels, vol. xix, 236. 

379 Waldo, William. "Reminiscences," Waldo Mss., Missouri Historical 

182 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

to the boats unscathed by the shower of shot and arrows 
concentrated upon them. When, after the battle was 
over and before the arrival of the relief party under 
Colonel Leavenworth, it became necessary to send word 
to Major Henry, it was Jedediah Smith who volun- 
teered for that service. Accompanied only by a French 
Canadian hunter and traversing nearly a thousand 
miles of unfamiliar country swarming with vigilant 
and hostile Indians, he pushed through in excellent 
time, found Henry on the Yellowstone, gave an account 
of the battle and of the urgent need of support, and 
immediately turned back with the relief detachment. 38 ' 
On their way down stream, they sailed bravely through 
the Arikara villages. 

The first battle had been fought June third. By 
about the second of July, Smith was back at Ashley's 
camp, now removed to the mouth of the Cheyenne 
River. From this point he was despatched to St. Louis 
with the furs which Henry had brought down. Ar- 
rived at the city, he had an interview with General At- 
kinson in which he related the incidents of the first 
Ankara fight and the departure of the Leavenworth 
relief expedition, and then hastening back, rejoined 
Ashley in time to take command of one of the con> 
panies in the battle of the tenth of August. 381 

After the conclusion of peace, Smith returned to the 
mountains with Andrew Henry, spending the fall and 
winter in the Crow country and in winter quarters near 
the mouth of the Big Horn. It is uncertain whether 

380 The "Eulogy" states that he accompanied the expedition of 1822. 
Sabin, E. L. Kit Carson Days, 512. 

381 Atkinson, Brigadier-general Henry. Letter to Major-general Gaines, 
St. Louis, August 15, 1823, in United States Senate, Executive Documents, 
i8th congress, ist session, no. i. 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 183 

he accompanied Thomas Fitzpatrick through the South 
Pass to the headwaters of Green River in the spring 
of 1824, but in the summer or fall of that year, as noted 
above, he headed the party of Ashley's men which fol- 
lowed the South Pass road to the Columbia, met Alex- 
ander Ross, accompanied him to Flathead Post, and 
from that point returned in the winter to the Great 
Salt Lake and Cache Valley. In the spring of 1825, 
he was with the united trapping parties that met Ash- 
ley at the appointed rendezvous near Green River. 
From rendezvous, he accompanied Ashley to the Big 
Horn, continued down that stream to the Yellowstone 
and the remainder of the distance to St. Louis. 

Leaving St. Louis in company with Ashley in the 
spring of 1826, Smith entered on the first stage of a 
journey which was to carry him, the first white man, 
from the Mississippi to the Pacific over the midland 
route. As Lewis and Clark discovered the northern 
route, so Smith, utilising the discoveries and experi- 
ence of Ashley between the Missouri and the Great 
Salt Lake, traced the south-western and central routes 
to the coast. Though the Great Salt Lake was to ter- 
minate the expedition for Ashley, it marked only a 
half-way station for Smith and many of the men who 
had accompanied them thus far, for from this point 
Smith continued his outward journey to California, 
approximating the course of the San Pedro, Los An- 
geles, and Salt Lake Railroad, returning, next spring, 
across the state of Nevada by the Central Pacific route. 
Before leaving St. Louis, Smith and Ashley had pre- 
sumably come to an agreement regarding the transfer 
of the latter's business to Smith in company with the 
two other Ashley men, David E. Jackson and William 

184 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

L. Sublette. 882 On their arrival at rendezvous, the 
transfer was concluded. 885 

Smith, Jackson, and Sublette now undertook to oper- 
ate in the field opened up by Ashley's men two years 
before. It was still immensely rich in beaver and ca- 
pable of continued trapping for a number of years and 
was also untouched by competition. But the ambitious 
young men who succeeded Ashley had visions of push- 
ing their trapping parties even farther west. Aware 
that a vast area must lie between the Great Salt Lake 
and the Pacific Ocean, but ignorant of its barren and 
beaverless nature, they resolved to penetrate this new 
field at once. The first step, however, was naturally 
one of exploration and survey. To turn a large divi- 
sion of the company into this unworked field before its 
business possibilities had been determined would be 
folly. It was decided, accordingly, that two of the 
partners, Sublette and Jackson, 384 should remain in the 
mountains with the main company, while Smith should 
set out with a few men to investigate the new area to 
the west. Besides determining the fur-bearing re- 
sources of the new country, Smith may also have had in 
view the possibility of shipping furs from one of the 

382 Beckwourth says that Ashley's men, who had been left in the moun- 
tains in 1825, "learned previous to the arrival of the general, that General 
Ashley had sold out his interest to Mr. Sublette, embracing all his properties 
and possessions." - Bonner, op. cit., 107. 

883 According to E. D. Smith [op. cit., vol. xii, 257] Smith had bought out 
Henry's interest in the business on the latter's withdrawal in the fall of 1824. 
J. J. Warner refers to him as the direct successor of Andrew Henry and 
speaks of the firm name, "Ashley and Smith."- Warner, J. J. "Reminiscences 
of Early California," in Southern California Historical Society, Publications, 
vol. vii, 186. Compare Thwaites, op. cit., vol. xix, 237, footnote. 

884 It should be said of David E. Jackson that, through the entire life of 
the firm of Smith, Jackson, and Sublette, he was the resident partner, re- 
maining continually in the mountains while Sublette returned regularly to 
the states. This is one reason why so little is known of him. Compare 
Victor, F. F. River of the West, 48. 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 185 

Californian ports. He would thus revive the project 
of John Jacob Astor, fifteen years earlier, but with a 
central or southern Pacific port. Ashley himself had 
had such a project in mind. In the draft of a letter 
written about this time, he stated that it was "reasona- 
ble to suppose the whole of the fur trade west of the 
mountains will take that direction [to the Pacific] to 
market as soon as any place on the sea coast may be es- 
tablished to a trade operated about the 43rd degree of 
latitude." 385 Later, however, he wrote to Thomas 
Hart Benton, "I should myself prefer transporting my 
furs from the vicinity of the Grand Lake to St. Louis in 
preference to taking them to the Pacific." 386 Perhaps 
also, like Brigham Young, twenty years later, Smith 
also intended to explore the Colorado as a possible 
waterway from Utah to the sea. 

Smith was selected to command this exploring ex- 
pedition because he already knew more about the coun- 
try than anyone else in the company. He had met 
Alexander Ross and Peter Skene Ogden at Flathead 
House in the fall and winter of 1824 and, as Ashley 
himself testified, used his opportunities to find out all 
that he could about the country in which the Hudson's 
Bay Company was operating and the extent of its 
business. He had talked also with its trappers, men 
who, for years, had been employed on the Snake coun- 
try expeditions and who, consequently, would be well 
informed about the country south of the Columbia and 
the Snake. Whatever they may have told him, if they 
were truthful, was probably disheartening, though it is 
not unlikely that Smith took their descriptions of that 
truly barren country with reservations, knowing their 

385 American Monthly Magazine, vol. xxxii, 329. 

886 December 28, 1828, Ashley Mss., Missouri Historical Society. 

1 86 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

anxiety to keep Americans out of it. Smith, further- 
more, was the best educated of the three partners and 
consequently better able to handle the affairs of the 
company among the Mexican population of California. 
Last of all, he was a man of recognised character and 

On Smith's return to rendezvous in the summer of 
1827, he despatched the following letter to William 
Clark, superintendent of Indian Affairs, in which he 
briefly sketched his course and summarized the more 
important incidents of his sojourn in California. 

LITTLE LAKE OF BEAR RivER, 387 July iyth 1827. 
GENL. WM. CLARK, 888 Supt. of Indian Affairs 

Sir, My situation in this country has enabled me to 
collect information respecting a section of the country 
which has hitherto been measurably veiled in obscurity 
to the citizens of the United States. I allude to the 
country S.W. of the Great Salt Lake west of the Rocky 

I started about the 22d of August 1826, from the 
Great Salt Lake, 389 with a party of fifteen men, 890 for 

S8 ^ Rendezvous was usually conducted at the southern or upper end of 
the lake near Laketown,, Rich County, Utah. 

888 This letter is contained in Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Letter- 
book, Kansas Historical Society. .The letter was printed in full in the Mis- 
souri Republican, October n, 1827. There is a French version of it in 
Eyries, de Larenaudiere, et Klaproth, Les Nouvelles Annales des Voyages 
(Paris, 1826-1833), second ser., vol. vii,*|p8-^*K 

389 He probably started from the trading post built this year, to which 
Ashley sent the four-pounder the year following. On August 22, 1826, 
presumably the date of his departure, Smith presented a number of useful 
articles to the Utah Indians and a few days later made another and more 
generous gift. In addition to these articles bestowed at the start, he carried 
with him a stock of merchandise to be distributed en route. 

890 The names of some of the men are recoverable from the Harrison G. 
Rogers Journal, which contains, interspersed with the narrative, memoranda 
of allowances to the employees. Among the names occurring in these ac- 
counts are the following: James Reed, Silas Gobel, Arthur Black, John 

The Smith Narrative 187 

the purpose of exploring the country S.W. which was 
entirely unknown to me, and of which I could collect 
no satisfactory information from the Indians who in- 
habit this country on its N.E. borders. 

My general course on leaving the Salt Lake was S.W. 
and W. Passing the Little Uta Lake 391 and ascending 
Ashley's river, which empties into the Little Uta 
Lake. 392 From this lake I found no more signs of buf- 
falo ; there are a few antelope and mountain sheep, and 
an abundance of black tailed hares. On Ashley's river, 
I found a nation of Indians who call themselves Sam- 
patch ; they were friendly disposed towards us. 393 I 
passed over a range of mountains running S.E. and 
N.W. and struck a river running S.W. which I called 

Gaiter, Robert Evans, Manuel Lazarus, John Hanna, John Wilson, Martin 
McCoy, Daniel Ferguson, Peter Ranna [or Ransa], (colored), and Abraham 
Laplant. This makes a total of twelve. H. H. Bancroft {History of Cali- 
fornia, vol. Hi, 155 ff.] names but four of Smith's men, as follows: Isaac 
Galbraith, Joaquin Bowman, John Wilson, and Daniel Ferguson. The name, 
Galbraith, occurs in none of the Casualty Lists furnished by Smith, Jackson, 
and Sublette, but is to be found in a list furnished William Clark in 1831 by 
John Dougherty with the names of Marishall and Rogers as among those 
slain on the "Coast of the Pacific Ocean of the Columbia river." - Superin- 
tendent of Indian Affairs, Letter-book, Kansas Historical Society. John Bow- 
man did not come to California till 1831 and hence was not of this party. 

391 The fi rs t indication of the name applied to this body of water, now 
Utah Lake. He probably followed the Salt Lake Valley, east of the lake, 
the route of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. This is the course as- 
signed to him on Chittenden's "Map of the Trans-Mississippi Territory," 
accompanying his History of the American Fur Trade, vol. iii, and by I. B. 
Richman on his "Map of Twenty-two Spanish and American Trails, etc.," 
accompanying his California under Spain and Mexico (Boston, 1911). Ban- 
croft says twice that he crossed Utah Lake. Bancroft, H. H. History of 
California, vol. iii, 152, 154, footnote. This lake is marked Ashley L. on the 
Gallatin map but without connection with Great Salt Lake. 

392 Ashley's river is presumably the Sevier, which, however, does not 
empty into Utah Lake but into Sevier Lake. Ashley's mistake in this matter 
may be due to the fact that he seems to have reached the Sevier only after 
"passing" Utah Lake. 

393 Sanpet Indians, a branch of the Ute tribe of Shoshonean stock, living 
in the Sanpete Valley and along the Sevier River. They have never been 
numerous, amounting in the year 1873 to only 36. 

1 88 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Adams River, in compliment to our President. 894 The 
water is of a muddy cast, and is a little brackish. The 
country is mountainous to East; towards the West there 
are sandy plains and detached rocky hills. 

Passing down this river some distance, I fell in with 
a nation of Indians who call themselves Pa-Ulches 
(those Indians as well as those last mentioned, wear 
rabbit skin robes) who raise some little corn and pump- 
kins. The country is nearly destitute of game of any 
description, except a few hares. Here (about ten days 
march down it) the river, turns to the South East. 39( 
On the S.W. side of the river there is a cave, the en- 
trance of which is about 10 or 15 feet high, and 5 or 6 
feet in width; after descending about 15 feet, a room 
opens out from 25 to 30 in length and 15 to 20 feet in 
width; the roof, sides and floor are solid rock salt, a 
sample of which I send you, with some other articles 
which will be hereafter described. I here found a 
kind of plant of the prickly pear kind, which I called 
the cabbage pear, the largest of which grows about two 
feet and a half high and i l / 2 feet in diameter; upon ex- 

894 Smith's route is difficult to follow from his confused and inadequate 
directions. The only stream running south-west is the Virgin, presumably 
named for Thomas Virgin, who accompanied Smith on his second expedition. 
It is over one hundred miles from the point where Smith seems to have struck 
Sevier River, up that stream, and across the divide to the headwaters of the 
Virgin, which he named Adams River. He arrived there before October 
first. Either this year or the next, "he seems to have learned of Sevier Lake. 
Says Albert Gallatin, "The discoveries South and West of that place [Great 
Salt Lake] appear to belong to others and principally to J. S. Smith. An- 
other river, known by the name of Lost River, coming also from the coast, 
falls into another lake without outlet situated in 38 N. latitude and the same 
longitude as L. Timpanogo." - American Antiquarian Society. Transactions, 
vol. ii, 141. 

398 Paiutes, a name applied at one time or another to most of the Shosho- 
nean tribes of western Utah. They were confined to the area of south- 
western Utah, southwestern Nevada, and northwestern Arizona. 

894 The Virgin flows slightly to the west of south in its lower course. 
Smith's "southeast" is inexplicable. 

The Smith Narrative 

amination I found it to be nearly of the substance of a 
turnip, altho' by no means palatable; its form was sim- 
ilar to that of an egg, being smaller at the ground and 
top than in the middle; it is covered with pricks similar 
to the prickly pear with which you are acquainted. 397 

There are here also a number of shrubs and small 
trees with which I was not acquainted previous to my 
route there, and which I cannot at present describe sat- 
isfactorily, as it would take more space than I can here 

The Pa Ulches have a number of marble pipes, one 
of which I obtained and send you, altho it has been 
broken since I have had it in my possession; they told 
me there was a quantity of the same material in their 
country. I also obtained of them a knife of flint, 
which I send you, but it has likewise been broken by 

I followed Adams river two days further to where it 
empties into the Seedekeeden a South East course. 398 
I crossed the Seedskeeder, and went down it four days 
a south east course; I here found the country remark- 
ably barren, rocky, and mountainous; there are a good 
many rapids in the river, but at this place a valley opens 
out about 5 to 15 miles in width, which on the river 
banks is timbered and fertile. 399 I here found a nation 
of Indians who call themselves Ammuchabas\ they cul- 
tivate the soil, and raise corn, beans, pumpkins, water- 
melons and muskmelons in abundance, and also a little 
wheat and cotton. 400 I was now nearly destitute of 

397 Of the genus, Echinocactus. 

898 His course was south-southwest. He reached the Colorado, which he 
recognized as the Seedskedee, or Green River, by October 5. There is now 
a ferry across the river at this point. See United States Geological Survey, 
St. Thomas Quadrangle (topographic sheet). 

899 The Mohave Valley. 

*The Mohave Indians, the most populous and warlike of the Yuma 

190 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

horses, and had learned what it was to do without food; 
I therefore remained there fifteen days and recruited 
my men, and I was enabled also to exchange my horses 
and purchase a few more of a few runaway Indians 
who stole some horses of the Spaniards. I here got in- 
formation of the Spanish country (the Californias) 
and obtained two guides, recrossed the Seedskadeer, 
which I afterwards found emptied into the Gulf of 
California about 80 miles from this place by the name 
of the Collarado; many render the river Gild from 
the East. 401 

I travelled a west course fifteen days over a country 
of complete barrens, generally travelling from morning 
until night without water. 402 I crossed a Salt plain 
about 20 miles long and 8 wide; on the surface was a 
crust of beautiful white salt, quite thin. Under this 
surface there is a layer of salt from a half to one and a 
half inches in depth; between this and the upper layer 
there is about four inches of yellowish sand. 403 

On my arrival in the province of Upper California, 
I was looked upon with suspicion, and was compelled 
to appear in presence of the Governor of the Califor- 
nias residing at San Diego, where, by the assistance of 
some American gentlemen (especially Capt. W. H. 
Cunningham of the ship Courier from Boston) I was 
enabled to obtain permission to return with my men 

tribes. They have lived in this valley, chiefly on the eastern side of the 
Colorado, for centuries. 

401 He was still on the Colorado as late as the fifth of October. He 
crossed at the Needles. The reference to the Gila is not clear. 

402 He followed presumably the present route of the Atchison, Topeka, and 
Santa Fe railroad, identical with what was presently to be the Santa Fe-Los 
Angeles trail. Compare Richman, op. cit., 289. 

403 The Mohave Desert. The route indicated on the Chittenden map is 
incorrect. According to the Gallatin map, he followed the Mohave River 
which is fittingly called "Inconstant" River. He entered California via 
the Cajon Pass. 

The Smith Narrative 191 

the route I came, and purchased such supplies as I stood 
in want of. The Governor would not allow me to trade 
up the Sea coast towards Bodaga. 404 I returned to my 
party and purchased such articles as were necessary, 
and went Eastward of the Spanish settlements on the 
route I had come in. I then steered my course N.W. 
keeping from 150 miles to 200 miles from the sea 
coast. 405 A very high range of mountains lay on the 
East. 406 After travelling three hundred miles in that 
direction through a country somewhat fertile, 407 in 
which there was a great many Indians, mostly naked 
and destitute of arms, with the exception of a few Bows 
and Arrows and what is very singular amongst Indians, 
they cut their hair to the length of three inches; they 
proved to be friendly; their manner of living is on fish, 
roots, acorns and grass. 

On my arrival at the river which I named the Wim- 
mul-che (named after a tribe of Indians which resides 
on it, of that name) I found a few beaver, and elk, deer, 
and antelope in abundance. 408 I here made a small 

404 They arrived at the mission of San Gabriel, November 27, 1826. 
For a discussion of the principal events during their sojourn here, see the 
Harrison G. Rogers Journal, post. 

405 He overestimates his 'distance from the sea. As he goes north, he 
keeps at an average of about one hundred miles from the coast. 

406 The Sierra Nevada Range. The directions jotted down by Rogers 
[see footnote 433]. "Two days above Saint Fernando [?], plenty of beaver at 
a lake. Three days above Santa Clare River, Pireadero, Two Larres or Flag 
Lake" give some indication of their route. They crossed the Santa Clara 
River north of San Gabriel, whence they proceeded to Tulare Lake, and so 

407 Three hundred miles would bring Smith a little beyond the San Joa- 
quin River at the point where it emerges from the mountains to the east, but 
his r*oute was naturally circuitous, and there is an indication that he slightly 
overestimated distances. Compare Warner, J. J. "Reminiscences of Early 
California," Southern California Historical Society, Publications, vol. vii, 

408 The Wimilche Indians, a Yokuts (Mariposan) tribe, formerly living 
north of King's River. The stream which Smith reached and which he 

192 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

hunt, and attempted to take my party across the [moun- 
tain] which I before mentioned, and which I called 
Mount Joseph, to come on and join my partners at the 
Great Salt Lake. I found the snow so deep on Mount 
Joseph that I could not cross my horses, five of which 
starved to death; I was compelled therefore to return 
to the valley which I had left, and there, leaving my 
party, I started with two men, seven horses and two 
mules, which I loaded with hay for the horses and 
provisions for ourselves, and started on the 2Oth of 
May, and succeeded in crossing it in eight days, having 
lost only two horses and one mule. 409 I found the snow 

named from the tribe dwelling on it, I take to be the Stanislaus. The 
Wimilche never lived much farther north. 

409 Smith left the vicinity of San Gabriel sometime after January 27. 
J. M. Guinn says that he did not leave until February. He adds, however, 
that they had removed their camp to San Bernardino. See Southern Cali- 
fornia Historical Society, Publications, vol. iii, part 4, 48. After traveling 
three hundred miles they reached a river where they made a small hunt, 
attempted to cross the mountains, failed, returned to the valley, and estab- 
lished a camp. Then Smith started again across the mountains with two 
men on May 20, 1827. The hunt, the first attempt at crossing, and the 
return and disposition of the party must have consumed at least three weeks, 
which would place his arrival at the foot of Mt. Joseph toward the end of 
April. The location of Smith's route is impossible to determine with ac- 
curacy. Warner states that he followed up the American fork of the Sacra- 
mento. Warner, op. cit., vol. vii, 181. Richman takes him to the Mokelumnes 
River and Chittenden to the Merced. It seems more probable that he fol- 
lowed the Stanislaus, starting eastward along the route followed in the 
opposite direction by the Bartleson-Bidwell party of 1841. The evidence for 
this is the fact that he named the stream the Wimilche from the tribe of 
Indians dwelling on it. The Wimilches live north of King's River but 
certainly not as far north as the American fork of the Sacramento, which 
was north of the northernmost limit of the Mariposan group to which the 
Wimilches belong. On the Stanislaus River he was in the midst of a Mari- 
posan area and he was not far north of King's River. Again, orders were 
issued in October, 1827, to bring into San Francisco the trappers on the Rio 
Estanislao. Governor's Orders of August 3, September 14, October i and 
16 in Departmental Records Mss., vol. v, 78, 88, 94, 102 cited in Bancroft, 
California, vol. iii, 158, footnote. Compare Bojorges, Recuerdos, Ms., 12-14, 
cited in idem. In the third place, Smith states that he traveled north three 

The Smith Narrative > 193 

on the top of this mountain from 4 to 8 feet deep, but 
it was so consolidated by the heat of the sun that my 
horses only sunk from half a foot to one foot deep. 

After travelling twenty days from the east side of 
Mount Joseph, I struck the S.W. corner of the Great 
Salt Lake, travelling over a country completely barren 
and destitute of game. We frequently travelled with- 
out water sometimes for two days over sandy deserts, 
where there was no sign of vegetation and when we 
found water in some of the rocky hills, we most gener- 
ally found some Indians who appeared the most miser- 
able of the human race having nothing to subsist on 
(nor any clothing) except grass seed, grass-hoppers, 
etc. When we arrived at the Salt Lake, we had but 
one horses and one mule remaining, which were so 
feeble and poor that they could scarce carry the little 
camp equipage which I had along; the balance of my 
horses I was compelled to eat as they gave out. 410 

hundred miles from San Gabriel, which would bring him approximately to 
the Stanislaus. 

Assuming that, in continuing his journey, he followed up the middle 
fork of this river, he would pass to the south of Mt. Stanislaus (11,202 feet), 
[his Mt. Joseph] and on the other side of the Sierras would strike the upper 
reaches of the West Walker River, which he would follow down into the 
plains to the east, presumably passing to the north of Walker Lake without 
visiting that body of water. Thence he would go northeast to Great Salt 
Lake. A highway follows this route to-day. See United States Geological 
Survey.^. California-Nevada, Jackson, Big Tree, Sonora, Yosemite, Dardan- 
elles, Bridgeport, Pyramid, Peal, Wellington, Carson, and Wabuska Quad- 
rangles (topographic sheets). For the Bidwell route see Richman, "Map," 
loc. cit. and Bidwell, "The First Emigrant Train to California," Century 
Magazine, vol. xix, 106 ff. 

410 Th e route shown on the Gallatin map is inaccurate for the reason that 
Gallatin confuses Smith's two expeditions. Gallatin says, "The ensuing year 
[1827], he visited Monterey and St. Francisco; ascended the river Buenaven- 
tura some distance and recrossed the California chain of mountains, called 
there Mount Joseph, in about the thirty-ninth degree of latitude. He thence 
proceeded north of west and reached the southwestern extremity of Lake 
Timpanogo." True, he went up the Buenaventura [American fork of the 

194 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

The company are now starting, and therefore must 
close my communication. Yours respectfully, 

(signed) JEDEDIAH S. SMITH, of the firm of 
Smith, Jackson and Sublette. 

During Smith's sojourn in California, both he and 
Harrison G. Rogers, the clerk of the company, kept a 
record of daily occurrences. Rogers's journal has been 
preserved. Like Smith, Harrison G. Rogers was a 
man of deep religious sentiment, a stalwart Calvinist. 
From the entire absence of all mention of him prior to 
1826, it would seem not unlikely that he made his first 
trip to the mountains in company with Ashley and 
Smith in the spring of that year. Two bits of philolog- 
ical evidence suggest a possible New England or Ca- 
nadian origin for him. The mission of San Gabriel 
reminded him of the "British barracks," which he pre- 
sumably had seen. 411 Again, black raspberries he calls 
by the name, Scotch cap, an Americanism. 412 He was 
killed July 14, 1828, with eleven other of Smith's men, 
at the massacre on the Umpqua. 

Two of his journals, both of them fragments, have 
survived. The first covers the period from November 
27 to December 20, 1826, and from January i to Jan- 
uary 27, 1827. The second runs from May 10 to July 
13, 1828. What became of the remainder of these 
journals is unknown. It is possible that the first part 
of the first journal, the portion covering the march 
from Great Salt Lake to San Gabriel, was handed over 
to the Mexican authorities at San Diego. Governor 
Echeandia, writing December 20, 1826, to the Minister 

Sacramento], but in 1828, crossed the California mountains, and continuing 
north of west, as Gallatin states, reached, not Lake Timpanogo, but the 
Pacific Ocean. 

411 See page 198. 

412 See page 245. Compare the New English Dictionary, "Scotch cap." 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 195 

of War, stated that he was enclosing Smith's diary. 413 
He may, of course, have referred to Smith's own jour- 
nal, but the abrupt fashion in which the Rogers narra- 
tive begins with their arrival at San Gabriel may indi- 
cate that Smith took the first section of this with him 
to San Diego as evidence of his purely pacific and com- 
mercial intentions, and that it there came into Echean- 
dia's hands, and was by him forwarded as noted above. 
Efforts to locate it, however, have been futile. The 
portions of the journals that have survived 41 * were car- 
ried about by Rogers from his first arrival in Califor- 
nia. If he was one of those who remained in Cali- 
fornia while Smith returned to Great Salt Lake, as 
seems not improbable, he very likely continued his 
journal during that period, though no trace of it has 
been found. 

With Smith's return in the winter of 1827, and the 
resumption of the journey northward in the spring of 
1828, Rogers continued his diary. Day by day, during 
the tedious and dangerous march through northern 
California and southern Oregon, he diligently record- 
ed the distance made and the direction pursued, taking 
pains to make his log as perfect and accurate in detail 
as the difficulties of an unnamed and unknown wilder- 
ness would permit. Nothing escaped his attention from 
the size of the raspberries to the shape and character 
of the Indian lodges and the peculiarities of their dia- 
lects. Even the loss of a little kitten, which the men 
had carried along as a pet and mascot, was duly re- 
corded. Occasionally he indicted a little prayer for 
preservation against the perils and dangers of the way, 
until, at last, on the thirteenth of July, having arrived 

* 13 St. Pap. Sac. Ms., vol. xix, 37, 38, cited by Bancroft, California, vol. 
"i '55. footnote 6. 

414 They fill 112 pages, 30 cm. by 10 cm. 

196 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

at the Umpqua, he sets down in his book with an appar- 
ent sigh of relief, "Those Inds. tell us after we get up 
the River 15 or 20 miles, we will have good Travelling 
to the Wei Hammet or Multenomah, where the Calli- 
po Inds. live." After nearly two years of almost con- 
stant danger, they were then within easy distance of the 
friendly Kallipoo Indians, the Willamette River, and 
Fort Vancouver, the Hudson's Bay Company's post at 
its mouth. For the first time the outlook was bright. 
This, however, was the last entry in Rogers's journal. 
Next morning after breakfast, he and all the company 
save three were brutally massacred by the Umpqua 
Indians, into whose hands fell all the property of the 
little band, including the furs, the outfit, and the jour- 
nals themselves. Three refugees only, Smith, Black, 
and Turner, made their way amid terrible hardships 
to Fort Vancouver, where they secured assistance from 
the British in recovering their property. 

For many months the journals were in the Indians' 
possession. Why they did not destroy them is a mys- 
tery. Perhaps they regarded them as an unknown and 
powerful medicine. Finally recovered, however, they 
were brought out by Smith from the mountains in the 
fall of 1830. The following summer, after having 
eluded constant danger and even having escaped the 
massacre on the Umpqua, Smith was at length shot 
down on his way to Santa Fe. Ashley, who had been 
made the executor of his will, took possession of his 
papers, including the Harrison G. Rogers journals. 
Instead of returning them to Smith's relatives, who, 
perhaps, would have scarcely appreciated their value, 
he retained them. With his death, they passed to the 
administrator of his estate and so to the hands of Mrs. 
Benjamin F. Gray of St. Louis, Ashley's grand-niece, 

First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 197 

by whom they were deposited with the Missouri His- 
torical Society, where they are now preserved. 

Journal of Harrison G. Rogers* 1 
Member of the Company of J. S. Smith 

Merchandise taken by Jedediah S. Smith for the 
Southwest Expedition, August i^th. 1826. 

4 dozen B. Knives 10 Ibs. Lead 

i paper Tax. 2 Ibs Beads 55 Ibs. Powder 

i YI dozen looking glasses 55 Ibs. Tobacco 

2, 3pt. Am. Blanketts 6 Frenchen Chisaels 

3. 2^2 pt. Am. Blanketts i Fuzie 
i Road Shawl 

Merchandise presented to the Eutaw Indians, by J. 
S. Smith, August 22nd. 1826. 

3 yards red ribbon I brass handle knife 

10 awls 40 balls, arrow points 

i razor, i dirk knife Y* Ib. tobacco 

August 27th. 1826. Indian presents. 

1 tin kettle 2 dozen rings 

3 yards red stranding i dozen combs 

4 razors. 2 durk knives 4 hawk bells 

2 butcher knives 2 stretch needles 

50 balls. I Ib. powder 2 doz. awls, buttons 

3 looking glasses i large green handle knife 

415 Interspersed with the narrative are memoranda of issues of soap, to- 
bacco, Indian goods, etc., to the men. From these accounts the following 
data regarding their itinerary is obtainable: 
Muddy River, Oct. ist. 1826. 

" 2nd. " 

Siskadee " sth. " 

" 24th. " 

" Nov. sth. " 

Rainy Encampment, Oct. 
Rock Creek Encampment, November 25, 1826. 

Saint Gabriel, December ist. 1826. 

" " 3 ist. " 

" " Jan'ry 4th, 1827. 

198 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Broad, handsomely stripped, the cattle differ from 
ours; they have large horns, long legs, and slim bodies; 
the beef similar to ours. The face of the country 
changes hourly, handsome bottoms covered with grass 
similar to ours. Blue grass; the mou. goes lower and 
clear of rock to what they have been heretofore. 

[MONDAY, NOVEMBER] ayTH. We got ready as ear- 
ly as possible and started a W. course, and traveled 14 
m. and enc. for the day, we passed innumerable herds of 
cattle, horses and some hundred of sheep ; we passed 4 
or 5 Ind. lodges, that their Inds. acts as herdsmen. 
There came an old Ind. to us that speaks good Spanish, 
and took us with him to his mansion, 416 which consisted 
of 2 rows of large and lengthy buildings, after the 
Spanish mode, thay remind me of the British Barracks. 
So soon as we enc. there was plenty prepared to eat, a 
fine young cow killed, and a plenty of corn meal given 
us; pretty soon after the 2 commandants of the mission- 
ary establishment come to us and had the appearance 
of gentlemen. Mr. S. went with them to the Mansion 
and I stay with the company, there was great feasting 
among the men as they were pretty hungry not having 
any good meat for some time. 417 

28TH. Mr. S. wrote me a note in the morning, stat- 
ing that he was received as a gentleman and treated as 
such, and that he wished me to go back and look for a 
pistol that was lost, and send the company on to the 
missionary establishment. I complyed with his re- 
quest, went back, and found the pistol, and arrived late 

416 Sic for mission [?]. 

417 The arrival in the vicinity of the mission of San Gabriel to which 
reference is here made. San Gabriel, the fourth of the Alta California mis- 
sions, was originally established on San Pedro Bay in 1771. Subsequently it 
was removed inland to its present site near Los Angeles. Smith's men 
stayed this night near an Indian farm-house about four miles northeast 
of the mission. See entry of January 18, page 224. 

First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 199 

in the evening, was received very politely, and showed 
into a room and my arms taken from me. About 10 
o'clock at night supper was served, and Mr. S. and my- 
self sent for. I was introduced to the 2 priests over a 
glass of good old whiskey and found them to be very 
joval friendly gentlemen, the supper consisted of a num- 
ber of different dishes, served different from any table 
I ever was at. Plenty of good wine during supper, be- 
fore the cloth was removed sigars was introduced. Mr. 
S. has wrote to the governor, 418 and I expect we shall 
remain here some days. 

29TH. Still at the mansion. We was sent for about 
sunrise to drink a cup of tea, and eat some bread and 
cheese. They all appear friendly and treat us well, 
although they are Catholicks by profession, they allow 
us the liberty of conscience, and treat us as they do their 
own countrymen, or brethren. 

About ii o'clock, dinner was ready, and the priest 
come after us to go and dine; we were invited into the 
office, and invited to take a glass of gin and water and 
eat some bread and cheese; directly after we were seat- 
ed at dinner, and every thing went on in style, both the 

418 Jose Maria de Echeandia, sometime director of the College of En- 
gineers in Mexico City and lieutenant-colonel in the army, was the second 
governor of Alta California under Mexican rule. He was appointed in 
January, 1825, but did not formally assume office until November. His term 
ended January 31, 1831. He established his official residence at San Diego, 
some five or six miles from the present city of that name, thereby giving 
offense to the people of Monterey and the north, which resulted in the Solis 
revolt. At the same time, he made himself unpopular with the missions by 
proposing, in 1830, an enlightened scheme of secularization. A successor was 
appointed in 1830, but Echeandia, placing himself at the head of an insur- 
rectionary movement, retained his hold as jefe politico and jefe militar over 
southern California till January, 1833, when, at last, a successor arrived from 
Mexico. He left California in the spring of that year, retiring to Mexico, 
where he died before 1871. Richman, California under Spain and Mexico, 
243, and passim. Thwaites, R. G. Early Western Travels, vol. xviii, 290 ff. 
Bancroft, California, vol. ii, 788. 

200 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

priests being pretty merry, the clerk and one other gen- 
tleman, who speaks some English. They all appear 
to be gentlemen of the first class, both in manners and 
habbits. The Mansion, or Mission, consist of 4 rows 
of houses forming a complete square, where there is all 
kinds of macanicks at work; the church faces the east 
and the guard house the west; the N. and S. line com- 
prises the work shops. They have large vineyards, ap- 
ple and peach orchards, and some orrange and some fig 
trees. They manufacture blankets, and sundry other 
articles; they distill whiskey and grind their own grain, 
having a water mill, of a tolerable quality; they have 
upwards of 1,000 persons employed, men, women, and 
children, Inds. of different nations. The situation is 
very handsome, pretty streams of water running through 
from all quarters, some thousands of acres of rich and 
fertile land as level as a die in view, and a part under 
cultivation, surrounded on the N. with a high and lofty 
mou., handsomely timbered with pine, and cedar, and 
on the S. with low mou, covered with grass. Cattle - 
this Mission has upwards of 30,000 head of cattle, and 
horses, sheep, hogs, etc. in proportion. I intend visit- 
ing the iner apartments to-morrow if life is spared. I 
am quite unwell to-day but have been engaged in writ- 
ing letters for the men and drawing a map of my travels 
for the priests. Mr. Smith, as well as myself, have 
been engaged in the same business. 419 They slaughter 
at this place from 2 to 3,000 head of cattle at a time; 
the mission lives on the profits. Saint Gabriel is in 
north latitude 34 degrees and 30 minutes. 420 It still 
continues warm ; the thermometer stands at 65 and 70 

3OTH. Still at Saint Gabriel; everything goes on 

. * 19 Unfortunately these maps have not come to light 
420 34 6' N. latitude; 118 6' W. longitude, to be exact. 











First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 203 

well; only the men is on a scanty allowance, as yet. 
There was a wedding in this place today, and Mr. S. 
and myself invited; the bell was rang a little before 
sun rise, and the morning service performed; then the 
musick commenced serranading, the soldiers firing, 
etc., about 7 oclock tea and bread served, and about n, 
dinner and musick. The ceremony and dinner was held 
at the priests; they had an ellegant dinner, consisting 
of a number of dishes, boiled and roast meat and fowl, 
wine and brandy or ogadent, grapes brought as a dessert 
after dinner. Mr. S. and myself acted quite indepen- 
dent, knot understanding there language, nor they ours; 
we endeavored to appoligise, being very dirty and not 
in a situation to shift our clothing, but no excuse would 
be taken, we must be present, as we have been served at 
there table ever since we arrived at this place; they 
treat [us] as gentlemen in every sense of the word, al- 
though our apparel is so indifferent, and we not being 
in circumstances at this time to help ourselves, being 
about 800 m. on a direct line 421 from the place of our 
deposit. Mr. S. spoke to the commandant this evening 
respecting the rations of his men ; they were immediate- 
ly removed into another apartment, and furnished with 
cooking utensils and plenty of provisions, they say, for 
3 or 4 days. Our 2 Ind. guides were imprisoned in the 
guard house the 2nd. day after we arrived at the mis- 
sionary establishment and remain confined as yet. Mr. 
S has wrote to the commandant of the province, and we 
do not know the result as yet, or where we shall go from 
this place, but I expect to the N.W. I intended visit- 
ing the iner apartments to-day, but have been engaged 
in assisting Mr. S. in making a map for the priest and 
attending the ceremonies of the wedding. 

421 Really only a little over six hundred miles in a direct line from Great 
Salt Lake. 

204 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

DECEMBER IST, 1826. We still remain at the man- 
sion of St. Gabriel ; things going on as usual ; all friend- 
ship and peace. Mr. S. set his black-smiths, James 
Reed and Silas Gobel, to work in the B. S. Shop, to 
make a bear trap for the priest, agreeable to promise 
yesterday. Mr. S. and the interpreter went in the 
evening to the next mission, which is 9 m. distance from 
St. Gab. and called St. Pedro, 422 a Spanish gentleman 
from that Mission having sent his servant with horses 
for them. There came an Itallian gentleman from 
Port Sandeago today by the name of John Battis Bon- 
afast who speaks good English, and acts as interpreter 
for all the American and English vessels that arrives in 
ports on the coast, quite a smart and intelligent man, 428 
The men all appear satisfied since there was new regu- 
lations made about eating. Mr. S. informed me this 
morning that he had to give Read 424 a little floggin yes- 
terday evening, on account of some of his impertinence; 
he appeared more complasant to-day than usual. Our 
fare at table much the same as at first, a plenty of every- 
thing good to eat and drink. 

2ND. Much the same to-day as yesterday, both being 
what the Catholicks call fast days; in the morning after 
sun rise, or about that time, you have tea, bread and 
cheese, at dinner fish and fowl, beans, peas, potatoes 
and other kinds of sauce, grapes as a desert, wine, gin 

422 The port of San Pedro is thirty-four miles from the mission of San 
Gabriel via the Pueblo of Los Angeles. Rogers seems to have confused this 
distance with that to Los Angeles. 

428 Juan Bautista Bonifacio, an Italian or Austrian, landed in California 
in 1822 from the ship John Begg. Bancroft, California, vol. ii, 478. In 
1829 he married and two years later became naturalized. Bancroft, op. <-/'/., 
vol. ii, 723. According to Bancroft, he was an illiterate honest fellow, but 
his intelligence impressed Rogers; and he had at least sufficient to become 
second officer of the Campania Extranjera de Monterey in 1832. Later, he 
seems to have become a commander of this organization. Bancroft, op. cit., 
vol. iii, 221, 223. He died about 1834 leaving a widow and three children. 

424 James Read, a troublesome fellow, who later abandoned Smith's employ; 

First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 205 

and water plenty at dinner. I could see a great deal of 
satisfaction here if I could talk there language, but, as 
it is, I feel great diffidence in being among them, knot 
knowing the topic of there conversation, still every at- 
tention is paid to me by all that is present, especially 
the old priest. I must say he is a very fine man and a 
very much of a gentleman. 425 Mr. S. has not returned 
from the other Mission as yet. This province is called 
the Province of New Callifornia; this mission ships to 
Europe annually from 20 to 25 thousand dollars worth 
of hides and tallow, and about 20 thousand dollars 
worth of soap. There vineyards are extensive; they 
make there own wine, and brandy; they have orranges 
and limes growing here. The Inds. appear to be much 
altered from the wild Indians in the mou. that we have 
passed. They are kept in great fear; for the least of- 
fense they are corrected; they are compleat slaves in 
every sense of the word. Mr. S and Laplant 426 re- 
turned late in the evening, and represents there, treat- 
ment to be good at the other mission. Mr. S. tells me 
that Mr. Francisco, the Spanish gentleman that he went 
to visit, promises him as many horses and mules as he 
wants. 427 

425 Jose Bernardo Sanchez. Born, September 7, 1778, at Robledillo, Spain, 
he joined the Franciscan order in 1794. and ten years later arrived in Cali- 
fornia. He served at San Diego from 1804-1820, at Purisima, 1820-1821, and 
finally at San Gabriel, 1821-1833. He was regarded by his superiors as a 
man of distinguished merit and ability. He was by no means a friend or 
sympathizer of Echeandia, the governor, whose policy of secularization he 
strenuously opposed. From 1827-1831, he held the high office of president 
of the Alta California missions, performing its difficult duties with much 
tact and credit. He is described as fair and fat, of lively disposition, gener- 
ous, and hospitable with a multitude of friends among all classes. He was 
an able manager of the temporal affairs of his mission and was proud of its 
prosperity. His declining years were harassed by a painful and incurable 
malady. Bancroft, California, vol. iii, 642, footnote. 

426 Abraham Laplant, one of Smith's men, who apparently accompanied 
him to San Pedro. He was also a member of the expedition of 1828. 

42T Francisco Martinez [see entry of December 7], a Spanish gentleman, 

206 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

DECEMBER 3RD., SUNDAY. About 6 o'clock the bell 
rang for mass, and they poured into church from all 
quarters, men, women and children ; there was none of 
us invited therefore we all remained at our lodgings. 
The fare to-day at table much as usual; there was an 
additional cup of tea in the afternoon. The Inds. play 
bandy 428 with sticks, it being the only game I have seen 
as yet among them. They play before the priests door. 
I am told they dance, both Spanyards and Inds., in the 
course of the evening. 

4TH. Still at St. Gabriel ; things much as usual The 
priest presented Mr. S. with two pieces of shirting con- 
taining 64 yards for to make the men shirts, all being 
nearly naked. Mr. Smith gives each man 3^ yards 
and kept the same number for himself, each man get- 
ting enough to make a shirt. The weather still contin- 
ues to be moderate, the thermometer stands at 60 and 63 
in the day, and 50-53 in the night. The Thermometer 
hangs within doors, etc. 

5TH. We are still remaining at the mansion of St. 
Gabriel, waiting the result of the Governor's answer to 
a letter that Mr. S. addressed him on the zyth of No- 
vember. We expect the courier some time today with 
letters. It still continues moderate. 

6TH. Early this morning I presented the old priest 
with my buffalo robe and he brought me a very large 
blankett and presented me, in return, about 10 o'clock. 
Nothing new. Things going on as they have been 
heretofore; no answer from the governor as yet; we are 
waiting with patience to hear from the governor. 

who had been residing in California for some time but who was obliged to 
leave by the law of 1827, ordering the expulsion of all Spaniards from Mex- 
ican territory. He is said to have sailed on the Thomas Noiulan from San 
Pedro. See Bancroft, California, vol. iii, 51, footnote; vol. iv, 733. 
428 I.e. hockey. 

First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 207 

iiTH [yTH]. No answer as yet from the governor 
of the province. Mr. S. and all hands getting impa- 
tient. There was a Spanish gentleman arrived yester- 
day evening named Francis Martinnis, 429 a very intelli- 
gent man, who speaks pretty good English, and ap- 
pears very friendly; he advises Mr. S. to go an see the 
governor in case he does not receive an answer in a few 
days. He is a man of business and is well aware that 
men on expenses and business of importance should be 
presservering; he appears anxious as respects our well 
fare. Mr. S. has some idea of going in company with 
him to Sandiego, the residence of the governor. 

STH. Nothing of importance has taken place today. 
Mr. S. was sent for to go to Sandiego to see the gov- 
ernor. Capt. Cunningham, commanding the ship 
Courier, now lying in port at Sandiego, arrived here 
late this evening. 430 The captain is a Bostonian, and 
has been trading on the coast for hides and tallow since 
June last; he informs me that he is rather under the im- 
pression that he shall be obliged to remain untill some 
time in the suceeding summer in consequence of so 
much opposition, as there is a number of vessels on the 
coast trading for the same kind of articles. He says 
that money is very scarce, amongst the most of the peo- 
ple, Mr. Martinas tells me that there is between 16 and 
17,000 natives that is converted over to the Catholic 
faith and under the control of the different Missions; 

429 Francisco Martinez. 

430 William H. Cunningham of Boston, who came to California as master 
of the Courier in 1826. Although on the California coast for several years, 
he seems to have spent much of his time on shore. He befriended J. O. 
Pattie on his arrival in California. By 1831 he was back in Boston. He 
seems to have spent the remainder of his life in Massachusetts, dying after 
1880. Bancroft, California, vol. ii, 772; vol. iii, 146. Pattie, James O. 
Personal Narrative, in Thwaites, Early Western Travels, vol. xviii, 245. 
It seems to have been Cunningham who brought Echeandia's message to Smith. 

208 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

the white population he estimates at 6,000, making 22 
or 23,000 thousand souls in the province of New Calli- 

9TH. Mr. Smith and one of the men, in company 
with Capt. Cunningham, left San Gabriel, this morning 
for Sandiego, the governor's place of residence. I ex- 
pect he will be absent for eight or ten days. The weath- 
er still keeps moderate, things much the same, friend- 
ship and peace as yet. 

IOTH. SUNDAY. There was five Inds. brought to the 
mission by two other Inds, who act as constables, or 
overseers, and sentenced to be whiped for not going to 
work when ordered. 

Each received from 12 to 14 lashes on their bare pos- 
teriors ; they were all old men, say from 50 to 60 years 
of age, the commandant standing by with his sword to 
see that the Ind. who flogged them done his duty. 
Things in other respects similar to the last Sabbath. 

iiTH. Nothing of consequence has taken place to- 
day more than usual, only the band of musick consisting 
of two small violins, one bass violin, a trumpet and tri- 
angle was played for 2 hours in the evening before the 
priests door by Inds. They made tolerable good music, 
the most in imitation to whites that [I] ever heard. 
Directly after the musick would cease, there was several 
rounds of cannon fired by the soldiers in commemora- 
tion of some great saints day or feast day. They keep 
at this place 4 small field pieces, 2 6-pounders and 2 
2-pounders to protect them from the Inds. in case they 
should rebel, and, from the best information I can get 
from the soldiers, they appear at times some what 
alarmed, for fear the Inds. will rise and destroy the 

1 2TH. About sun rise, the bell rang and mass called ; 

First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 209 

men women and children attended church; they dis- 
charged a number of small arms and some cannon while 
the morning service were performing. There main 
church is upwards of 200 feet in length and about 140 
in breadth made of stone and brick, a number of dif- 
ferent apartments in it. They hold meeting in the large 
church every Sunday; the Spanyards first attend and 
then the Inds. They have a room in the iner apart- 
ment of the Mission to hold church on their feast days. 
There religion appears to be a form more than a reality. 
I am in hopes we shall be able to leave here in five or 
six days at most, as all hands appear to be anxious to 
move on to the North. Things in other respects much 
the same; the weather still continues to be good. In 
the evening there was a kind of procession, amongst both 
Spanyards and Inds. I enquired the reason, I was told 
by a Mr. David Philips, an Englishman, that this day, 
a year ago, the Virgin Mary appeared to an Ind. and 
told him that the i2th day of December should always 
be kept as a feast day and likewise a holliday among 
them and both Spaniards and Inds. believe it. 431 

I3TH. I walked through the work shops; I saw 
some Inds. blacksmithing, some carpentering, others 
making the wood work of ploughs, others employed in 
making spining wheels for the squaws to spin on. There 
is upwards 60 women employed in spining yarn and 
others weaving. Things much the same, cloudy and 
some rain to-day. Our black smith[s] have been em- 
ployed for several days making horse and nails for our 
own use when we leave here. 

I4-TH. I was asked by the priest to let our black 

431 David Philips, according to Bancroft was an English cooper. He 

places the date of his arrival in 1834 [sic for i824(?)] and says that he was 

in San Diego in 1836, living with a Mexican wife. Bancroft, California, 
vol. iv, 776. 

21 o The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

smiths* 32 make a large trap for him to set in his orrange 
garden, to catch the Inds. in when they come up at night 
to rob his orchard. The weather clear and warm. 
Things in other respects much the same as they have 
been heretofore; friendship and peace prevail with us 
and the Spanyards. Our own men are contentious and 
quarrelsome amongst themselves and have been ever 
since we started the expedition. Last night at supper 
for the first time the priest questioned me as respected 
my religion. I very frankly informed him that I was 
brought up under the Calvinist doctrine, and did not 
believe that it was in the power of man to forgive sins. 
God only had that power, and when I was under the 
necessity of confessing my sins, I confessed them unto 
God in prayer and supplication, not to man; I further 
informed him that it was my opinion, that men ought 
to possess as well as profess religion to constitute the 
Christian; he said that when he was in his church and 
his robe on, he then believed he was equal unto God, and 
had the power to forgive any sin, that man was guilty 
of, and openly confessed unto him, but when he was out 
of church and his common waring apparel on he was as 
other men, divested of all power of forgiving sins. 

I5TH. I went out fowling with the commandant of 
the Mission. I killed 7 brant and one duck, and the 
commandant killed 2 brants and a duck; the priest fur- 
nished me with shot. Two of our men went to work to- 
day, Arthur Black and John Gaiter; they are to get a 
horse a piece for 3 days work. Times much the same 
as they have been some time back; nothing new occurs. 

i6TH. 438 Late this morning a Mr. Henry, owner of 

432 James Read and Silas Gobel presumably. 

483 Inserted at this point are the following directions: "Two days above 
Saint Francisco, plenty beaver at a lake. Three days above Santa Clare 
River, Pireadaro, Two Larres or Flag Lakes. Plenty of beaver as we are 

First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 211 

a brig now lying in port, arrived at the Mission; he 
appears to be # very much of a gentleman, and quite 
intelligent. His business here is to buy hides, tallow 
and soap, from the priest. Nothing new has4iaken 
place. Things much the same about the Mission; the 
priest administered the sacrament to a sick Indian to- 
day, and he thinks he will die. 

lyTH. The sick Indian that the priest administered 
the sacrament too yesterday, died last night, and was 
entered in there graveyard this evening; the proceed- 
ings in church similar to the last Sabbath. Sunday 
appears to be the day that the most business is trans- 
acted at this Mission ; the priest plays at cards both Sun- 
day a[nd] weak a days, when he has company that can 
play pretty expert. 

i8TH. I received a letter from Mr. S. informing me 
that he rather was under the impression that he would 
be detained for some time yet, as the general did [not] 
like to take the responsibility on himself to let us pass 
until he received instructions from the general in Mex- 
ico; under those circumstances I am fearful we will 
have to remain here some time yet. Our men have been 
employed fitting out a cargo of hides, tallow, and soap 
for a Mr. Henry Edwards, a German by birth, and the 
most intelligent man that I have met with since I ar- 
rived at this place ; he is what they term here a Mexi- 
can trader.* 8 * 

informed by Mr. Martinos." The first lake referred to is probably Buena 
Vista Lake, Kern County, about seventy-five miles northwest of the mission 
of San Fernando Rey. The Santa Clara River rises in the mountains north 
, of San Gabriel and flows westward, entering the Santa Barbara channel, 
sixty miles north of San Pedro. The Two Larres Lake is, of course, the 
Tulare, discovered and named by Pedro Pages, in 1773, from los tules 
(flags, rushes). 

434 Henry Edwards is unidentifiable. All trade with Mexico proper was 
still conducted by sea. Shortly after this, the term, Mexican trader, was 

212 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Mr. S. also wrote to me for eight beaver skins, to 
present to the Spanish officers to face there cloaks with; 
I complyed with his request, and selected eight of the 
Best and sent to him. 

I9TH. Still remaining at San Gabriel; things much 
the same. I went out with my gun to amuse myself, 
killed some black birds and ducks. The express left 
here this morning for Sandiego. I sent the eight beav- 
er skins to Mr. Smith to present to the Spanish officers 
to face their cloaks, by him. The old father continues 
his frindship to me; it does not appear to abate in the 
least. I still eat at his table. This Mission, if proper- 
ly managed, would be equal to [a] mine of silver or 
gold ; there farms is extensive ; they raise from 3 to 4000 
bushels of wheat annually, and sell to shippers for $3. 
per bushel. There annual income, situated as it is and 
managed so badly by the Inds., is worth in hides, tal- 
low, soap, wine, ogadent, wheat, and corn from 55 to 
60,000 dollars. 

2OTH. Nothing new has taken place ; all peace and 
friendship. I expect an answer from Mr. Smith in six 
or eight days if he does not get permission to pass on. 
My situation is a very delicate one, as I have to be 
amongst the grandees of the country every day. My 
clothes are [illegible] the clothing of blanketts [illegi- 
ble] pantaloons, two shirts and [illegible] read cap. 
I make a very grotesque appearance when seated at 
table amongst the dandys with there ruffles, silks, and 
broad clothes, and I am 486 

applied to those who journeyed overland between Santa Fe and Alta Cali- 

436 Smith, meantime, had reached San Diego, where he was presented to 
Echeandia. He explained that he had been compelled to enter Mexican 
territory because of his lack of provisions and horses. Echeandia seems to 
have been impressed with Smith's honesty and to have been confirmed in 

First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 213 

New Years Address by Harrison G. Rogers to the 

Reverend Father of San Gabriel Mission 

January 1st, l82J 

REVEREND FATHER, Standing on the threshold of a 
New Year, I salute you with the most cordial congrat- 
ulations and good wishes. 

While the sustaining providence of God has given us 
another year of probation, every thing -seems to remind 
me that is for probation. 

this impression when, December 20, Smith produced the following document 
as an attestation of his character and good faith: 

"We, the undersigned, having been requested by Capt. Jedediah S. Smith, 
to state our opinions regarding his entering the province of California, do 
not hesitate to say that we have no doubt but that he was compelled to for 
want of provisions and water, having entered so far into the barren country 
that lies between the latitudes of forty-two and forty-three west (sic), that 
he found it impossible to return by the route he came, as his horses had 
most of them perished from want of food and water, he was therefore under 
the necessity of pushing forward to California - it being the nearest place 
where he could procure supplies to enable him to return. 

"We further state as our opinion that the account given by him is cir- 
cumstantially correct, and that his sole object was the hunting and trapping 
of beaver and other furs. We have also examined the passports provided 
by him from the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Government of 
the United States of America, and do not hesitate to say we believe them 
perfectly correct. 

"We also state that, in our opinion, his motives for wishing to pass by a 
different route to the Columbia River on his return is solely because he feels 
convinced that he and his companions run great risks of perishing if they 
return by the route they came. 

"In testimony whereof we have herewith set out hands and seals this 
2oth day of December, 1826. 

WM. G. DANA, Capt. Schooner, Waverly. 

WM. H. CUNNINGHAM, Capt. Ship, Courier. 

WM. HENDERSON, Capt. Brig^Olive Branch. 


THOMAS M. ROBINSON, Mate, Schooner, Waverly. 

THOMAS SHAW, Supercargo, Ship, Courier." 

The above is published in Southern California Historical Society, Publica- 
tions, vol. iii, part 4, 47, 48, and in Cronise, Natural Wealth of Cali- 
forna, 43. 

There is a break in the manuscript at this point. 

214 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Many, very many during the past year have, doubt- 
less, been called throughout the different parts of the 
tractless globe, to weep over friends now sleeping in 
their graves, many others have personally felt the visit- 
ations of sickness, and probably many more, ere another 
year ushers in, will be called from time into eternity. 

While revolving seasons, while sickness, disappoint- 
ment, and death raise their minatory voice, remember, 
Reverend Sir, that this world is not our home. It is a 
world of trial. It is the dawn of an immortal existence. 

Therefore my advice is, to all the human family, to 
be faithful, be devoted to God, be kind, be benevolent 
to their fellow sufferers, to act well their part, live for 
eternity; for the everlasting destinies of their souls is 
suspended upon their probation, and this may close the 
present year. 

Our Savior, Sir, after having spent his life in untry- 
ing [untiring] benevolence, and before he ascended to 
his native heavens, probably in allusion to the twelve 
tribes of Israel, elected twelve apostles or missionaries. 

To these, after having properly qualified and in- 
structed them, he left a part of his legacy, a world to 
be converted. 

He directed that "repentance and remission of sins 
should be preached in his name among all nations, be- 
ginning at Jerusalem" -Agreeably to his command the 
first church was founded at Jerusalem. 

But, Reverend Father, remember the whole world 
was missionary ground. Before the days of Christ 
Jesus, our Saviour, we never heard of missionaries to 
the heathen with a solitary exception. 

The exception to which I allude is the case of Jonah, 
who was sent to preach to the heathen at Nineveh about 
800 years before Christ. 

It was not till several years after the ascension of our 

First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 215 

Saviour that a single Gentile was converted. But now 
the door was opened. The Apostles hesitated, delayed 
no longer. It is said by ancient history that the world 
was divided among them by lot. 

Be this as it may, it is certain that they soon seperated 
and went from village to village. 

To this little number of missionaries we are informed 
that Paul was soon added. 

With the exception of this man, the missionaries were 
not learned in the arts and sciences; were ignorant of 
books and of men, yet they went forth unsupported by 
human aid, friendless and opposed by prejudices, 
princes, laws, learning, reasonings of philosophy, pas- 
sions and persecutions. 

And what was the result of their labors? We know 
but a little; we can trace only a few of their first steps. 
Yet we know enough to astonish us. We know by the 
labors of those missionaries there are mentioned in the 
New Testament, sixty-seven different places in which 
Christian churches were established by them, several of 
which places contained several churches. 

Paul informs us that in his time the Gospel had been 
preached to every [race] which is under heaven. Jus- 
tin Martyr tells us that in the year 106, "There was not 
a nation either Greek or Barbarian or of any other name 
even of those who wander in tribes and live in tents, 
among whom prayers and thanksgivings are not of- 
fered to the Father and Creator of the Universe, by the 
name of the Crucified Jesus." We know, assuredly, 
that at this time that there were churches in Germany, 
Spain, France, and Brittain. Besides the Apostles, 
there were at least eighty-seven Evangelists in this age, 
so that the whole number of active missionaries in the 
Apostolic age, was ninety-nine or one hundred. Of 
the Apostles we have reasons to believe, nine at least 

216 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

suffered martyrdom. On the whole, then, we have no 
reason to doubt, on the testimony of history and tradi- 
tion, that the last command of Christ was so obeyed, 
that in the Apostolic age, the Gospel was preached in 
every part of the globe which was then known. 

MONDAY, JANUARY IST, 1827. This morning church 
was held before day; men, women and children attend- 
ed as usual; after church, musick played by the Inds. 
as on Sunday; wine and some other articles of clothing 
given out to the Inds. The priest keeps a memoran- 
dum of all articles issued to them. The fare at the 
table the same as other days, if any difference, not so 
good. Some rain last night and to-day; weather warm; 
showers alternate through the day like May showers in 
the states, and equally as pleasant; things in other re- 
spects much the same; no news from Mr. S. and I am at 
a loss how to act in his absence with the company, as he 
left no special instructions with me when he left here. 

TUESDAY 2ND. Still at the Mission of San Gabriel ; 
nothing new has taken place to-day; the men com- 
menced work again this morning for the old Padre; no 
news from Mr. S; friendship and peace still prevail. 
Mr. Joseph Chapman, a Bostonian by birth, who is 
married in this country and brought over to the Catho- 
lic faith, came here about 10 oclock A. M. to superin- 
tend the burning of a coal pitt for the priest. He is 
getting wealthy, being what we term a Yanky; he is 
jack of all trades, and naturally a very ingenious man; 
under those circumstances, he gets many favours from 
the priest, by superintending the building of mills, 
black smithing, and many other branches of mechanic- 

ism. 487 

487 Joseph Chapman, one of the most picturesque figures in the California 
of this period. A Bostonian, he had come to California in 1818 as a car- 

First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 217 

W. 3RD. There was five or six Inds. brought to the 
Mission and whiped, and one of them being stubbourn 
and did not like to submit to the lash was knocked down 
by the commandant, tied and severely whiped, then 
chained by the leg to another Ind who had been guilty 
of a similar offence. I reed a letter from Mr. S. this 
morning informing me that he had got his passports 
signed by the governor, by the intercession of the gen- 
tlemen officers, and that he would join me in a few 
days; he intended embarking on Board Capt. Cunning- 
ham's ship, and coming to St. Pedro, which is forty- 
five miles distant from San Gabriel. 438 

penter and blacksmith. He was at Sta. Ines in 1820, constructing a grist 
mill, and a year later at San Gabriel, engaged in a similar task. In 1822, he 
was baptised at San Buenaventura, being known henceforth as Jose Juan, 
and soon after married a Mexican lady. From 1824 to 1826, he owned a 
house at Los Angeles and sufficient land for a vineyard of 4,000 vines. He 
still continued to do odd jobs about the mission, however, which no doubt 
accounts for his arrival at San Gabriel during Smith's sojourn there. He 
was a jack-of-all-trades, indeed, being able, apparently, to repair or to 
construct anything, having built a schooner, and even having served, on one 
occasion, as a surgeon. "He was a great favorite with the friars, especially 
Padre Sanchez, who declared it a marvel that one, so long in the darkness 
of. the Baptist faith, could give such an example of true Catholic piety to 
older Christians." He was naturalized in 1831. A few years later, he re- 
moved to Santa Barbara, where he seems to have lived until his death, about 
1848. He was survived by his wife and a number of daughters. Bancroft. 
California, vol. ii, 757; Bryant, Edwin. What I Saw in California (New 
York, 1849), 421; Thompson and West. History of Los Angeles County, 
California, 24. 

438 Echeandia had issued the desired papers, thanks to the intervention of 
the American ship-masters in the port of San Diego. Smith then sailed for 
San Pedro on board the "Courier." Captain Cunningham's account of his 
dealings with Smith is as follows: 

"There has arrived at this place Capt. Jedediah Smith with a company 
of hunters, from St. Louis, on the Missouri. These hardy adventurers have 
been 13 months travelling their route, and have suffered numerous hardships. 
They have often had death staring them in the face, sometimes owing to the 
want of sustenance; at others to the numerous savages which they have 
been obliged to contend with. Out of 50 horses which they started with, they 
brought only 18 in with them; the others having died on the road for want 
of food and water. 

"Does it not seem incredible that a party of fourteen men, depending en- 

2i8 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

THURS. 4TH. Still at the Mission; nothing new; 
four of our men, Robert Evans, Manuel Lazarus, John 
Hannah, 439 and John Wilson went with Mr. Joseph 
Chapman, to cut wood for the coal pitt, and assist him 
in erecting it, and burning the coal. Myself and Mr. 
McCoy went up in the mountains to see if we could find 
some dear; I saw two and wounded one, killed a wolf 
and two ducks; Mr. McCoy saw two dear, and got one 
shot but missed. We passed through a great abundance 
of oak timber, some trees heavy laden with acorns, 
the land, rich, and easy cultivated, some large springs, 
or lagoons, which offered a great quantity of water, 
which is brought in all directions through the Mission 
farm as they have to water their orchards, gardens, and 

FRIDAY ^TH. Still remaining at the mission of San 
Gabriel, waiting the arrival of Mr. S. Five men went 
with Mr. Chapman, this morning, to cut cord wood for 
the coal pitt. I walked over the soap factory and find 
it more extensive than I had an idea; it consists of 4 
large cisterns, or boilers, that will hold from 2000 to 
2500 hundred gallons each; the cistern is built in the 
shape of an sugar loaf made of brick, stone, and lime; 
there is a large iron pott, or kittle, fixed in the bottom 

tirely upon their rifles and traps for subsistence, will explore this vast con- 
tinent, and call themselves happy when they can obtain the tail of a beaver 
to dine upon? Captain Smith is now on board the Courier, and is going 
with me to St. Pedro to meet his men: from thence he intends to proceed 
northward in quest of beaver, and to return, afterwards, to his deposits in 
the Rocky Mountains. 

"(St. Diego and St. Pedro are ports in California, W. Coast of America, 
near 3,000 miles from Boston)". 

Letter dated San Diego, December, 1826, in Missouri Republican, October 
25, 1827. 

489 John Hannah was slain at the Umpqua. His estate brought suit for 
the recovery of his wages, which the court allowed, final payment being made 
in October, 1830. Sublette Mss., carton 10, Missouri Historical Society. 

First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 219 

where the fire strikes them to set them boiling, lined 
around the mouth of the cisterns and the edge of the 
potts with sheat iron 8 or 10 inches wide; the potts, or 
kittles, will hold from 2 to 250 gallons each, and a 
great many small ones, fixed in like manner. Things 
in other respects much the same about the mission as 
usual, friendship and peace with us and the Spaniards. 
6TH, SATURDAY. This being what is called Epiphany 
or old Christmas day, it is kept to celebrate the mani- 
festation of Christ to the Gentiles, or particularly the 
Magi or wise men from the East. Church held early 
as usual, men, women, and children attend; after 
church the ceremonies as on Sundays. Wine issued 
abundantly to both Spanyards and Inds., musick played 
by the Ind. Band. After the issue of the morning, our 
men, in company with some Spanyards, went and fired 
a salute, and the old Padre give them wine, bread, and 
meat as a treat. Some of the men got drunk and two 
of them, James Reed and Daniel Ferguson, commenced 
fighting, and some of the Spanyards interfered and 
struck one of our men by the name of Black, which 
come very near terminating with bad consequence. 440 

440 James Read was the blacksmith whom Smith flogged and who seems 
to have been a troublesome fellow. Nothing is known of his subsequent his- 

Daniel Ferguson, confused by Bancroft [California, vol. ii, 526] with 
Joseph Daniel Ferguson, came to California with Smith but, on the departure 
of the expedition from San Gabriel, was nowhere to be found. See page 
226. He remained concealed until they had gone far enough to eliminate 
the possibility of recapturing him. Probably his loss was not grievously 
felt. The California authorities knew of his presence in May, and his 
testimony was sought as to the character and intentions of Smith's men. 
Bancroft, California, vol. iii, 156, citing Departmental Records Mss., vol. v, 45. 
Later he seems to have settled in or near Monterey. His name appears with 
that of Bonifacio on the Campania Extranjera de Monterey, su oraanizacidn 
en 1832, which was formed to support Zamorano in his insurrection against 
Echeandia. By 1836, he was residing in Los Angeles and was then thirty- 
eight years old, not thirty, as stated by Bancroft [California, vol. iii, 736]. 

22O The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

So soon as I heard of the disturbance, I went among 
them, and passified our men by telling what trouble 
they were bringing upon themselves in case they did 
not desist, and the most of them, being men of reason, 
adheared to my advice. 

Our black smith, James Reed, come very abruptly 
into the priests dining room while at dinner, and asked 
for ergadent; the priest ordered a plate of victuals to 
be handed to him ; he eat a few mouthf uls, and set the 
plate on the table, and then took up the decanter of 
wine, and drank without invitation, and come very near 
braking the glass when he set it down; the Padre, see- 
ing he was in a state of inebriety, refrained from saying 

SUNDAY, yTH. Things carried on as on former 
Sabaths, since I have been at the Mission, church ser- 
vices morning and evening, issues to the Inds. of wine 
and clothing; the priest in the evening threw oranges 
among the young squaws to see them scuffle for them, 
the activest and strongest would get the greatest share. 
Mr. Smith has not joined us yet. 

MONDAY STH. Last night there was a great fan- 
dago or dance among the Spanyards; they kept it up 
till nearly day light from the noise. The women here 
are very unchaste; all that I have seen and heard speak 
appear very vulgar in their conversation and manners. 
They think it an honnour to ask a white man to sleep 

He seems to have come north again in 1839 or 1840. In July, 1841, he was 
murdered in Salinas Valley, perhaps by Jose Antonio Arana, the paramour 
of Ferguson's wife, Maria del Carmen Ruiz. Bancroft, California, vol. iii, 
736; vol. iv, 653, footnote. Thompson and West. History of Los Angeles 
County, California, 33. 

Arthur Black remained loyal to Smith, accompanied him north in 1828, 
and was one of the three to escape the massacre on the Umpqua. He is 
said never to have returned to the states. Bancroft, H. H. History of the 
Northwest Coast (San Francisco, 1888), vol. ii, 454, footnote. 

First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 221 

with them; one came to my lodgings last night and 
asked me to make her a bianco Pickanina, which, being 
interpreted, is to get her a white child, and I must say 
for the first time, I was ashamed, and did not gratify 
her or comply with her request, seeing her so* forward, 
I had no propensity to tech her. Things about the mis- 
sion much the same. No news of Mr. S., and I am very 
impatient, waiting his arrival. 

9TH, TUESDAY. Business going on about the Mis- 
sion as usual. About 8 or 10 boys employed gathering 
orranges overseed by the commandant and the steward 
of the Mission, old Antonio, a man of 65 years of age, 
who is intrusted with the keys of all the stores belong- 
ing to the mission; he generally is served at the priests 
table, and, from appearance, is very saving and trusty. 
I went out in company with Mr. McCoy this evening 
with our guns to amuse ourselves; I killed one brant 
and Mr. McCoy killed nothing. Mr. S. still absent 
from the company. 

WEDNESDAY, IOTH. About noon Mr. S., Capt. Cun- 
ningham, Mr. Shaw, and Thos. Dodges 441 come to the 
Mission from the ship Courier, and I was much re- 

441 Thomas Shaw, supercargo of the "Courier," and one of the signers of 
the testimonial to Smith's character. Like Cunningham, a native of Massa- 
chusetts, he was employed from 1826-1828 as clerk and supercargo on the 
ships, "Courier" and "Waverly." In 1830, he was supercargo of the "Poca- 
hontas," John Bradshaw, master. The following year, he contracted with 
Juan Bandini, the insurrectionary leader, to transport Governor Victoria to 
Mazatlan, sailing January, 1832. The Marine List of 1833-1835 shows him as 
supercargo and master of the "Volunteer," the "Harriet Blanchard," and the 
"Lagoda," all of them engaged in the Hawaiian trade. He is said to have 
been in Boston in 1836, with no intention of returning to California. By 
1839-1840, however, he was back again as supercargo of the "Monsoon," re- 
maining on the coast for some time apparently. He died in Boston, presum- 
ably about 1866. See Bancroft, California, vol. iii, 146, 148, 210 ff., 382 ff., 
410; vol. iv, 105, footnote; vol. v, 718. 

Thomas Dodge is unidentifiable, presumably an officer or passenger on 
the "Courier." 

222 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

joiced to see them as I have been waiting with anxiety 
to see him. Nothing new has taken place to-day; things 
much the same, about the Mission. Mr. S. intends 
going back in the morning to the ship. 

THURSDAY, IITH. Mr. S. in company with Capt. 
Cunningham, Mr. Shaw, and Chapman, left the mis- 
sion this morning for the sea shore. About noon, Capt. 
Cunningham returned to the Mission, and informed me 
that Mr. S. wished me to go to the Parbalo to buy 
horses, wich is 8 miles distance from San Gabriel. 442 

I complyed with his request went, and met Mr. S. 
there, and purchased two horses for our trap, and Mr. 
S. made an agreement for 10 more, for which he is to 
give merchandise at the ship in exchange. 

FRIDAY, I2TH. I got the two horses we bought last 
evening, from Mr. Francis St. Abbiso, 443 and returned 
to the Mission about the middle of the day; just as I 
arrived the Priest from San whan 444 arrived on a visit 
with his carriage, and Indian servants. He is a man 
about 50 years of age, upwards of six feet high, and 
well made in proportion, and, from his conduct, he 
appears to be a very good man, and a very much of a 
gentleman. I had a branding iron made by our black- 
smith so soon as I returned, and branded the two horses 
that we bought, with J. S. ; things in other respects at 
the Mission much the same. 

442 The pueblo, or town of Los Angeles, the second municipality founded 
in Alta California, at this time consisting of about eighty houses and seven 
hundred inhabitants. 

448 Francis St. Abbiso is unidentifiable. 

444 The mission of San Juan Capistrano founded midway on the road 
between San Gabriel and San Diego. The priest referred to is probably 
Padre Jose Barona, at this time sixty-two years of age, a native Spaniard 
who had come to California in 1798. He served in San Diego, 1798-1811 
and at San Juan Capistrano, 1811-1831. After 1827, however, he spent most 
of his time at San Luis Key, being described as a man in broken health. 
Here he died. Bancroft. California, vol. iii, 625. 

First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 223 

SATURDAY, I3TH. This morning I set the men to 
work to put the Traps in order for packing; one of the 
horses I bought yesterday got loose last night and ran 
off, and I have not got him yet or heard anything of 
him. Today at dinner I was asked a great many ques- 
tions by the Priest who came here yesterday, respect- 
ing our rout and travels ; I give him all the satisfaction 
I could and informed him as respects the situation of 
the country I have Traveled through, also the United 
States, and their laws. Things about the Mission much 
as usual. 

SUNDAY, I4TH. As agreeable to promise I sent Ar- 
thur Black, John Gaiter, 445 and Peter Ranne 448 to the 
Parbalo to meet Mr. Smith to get Horses, which he is 
purchasing at that place. Time is passing off swiftly 
and we are not under way yet; but I am in hopes we 
shall be able to start in three or 4 days from here. 
Church as usual; wine issued, etc. In the evening, 
four Inds. who had been fighting and gambling was 
brought before the guard house Door, and sentenced 
to be whiped; they received from 30 to 40 lashes each 
on their bare posteriors. 

MONDAY, I5TH. About noon Capt. Cunningham 
and Mr. Chapman arrived at the Mission from the 
Ship. Mr. S. still remain in the Parbalo, purchasing 
horses. Mr. Chapman informed me that there is a 
natural pitch mine north of the Parbalo, 8 or 10 miles, 
where there is from 40 to 50 hogsheads of pitch 
throwed up from the bowels of the earth, daily; the 
citizens of the country make great use of it to pitch the 
roofs of their houses; 447 he shew me a piece which have 

445 John Gaiter was killed at the Umpqua, July, 1828. 

446 Peter Ranne, a negro. 

44T Perhaps Devil's Gate, Los Angeles County, California. Compare De 
Mofras, Exploration du territoire de I'Oregon (Paris, 1844), 3578. 

224 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

the smell of coal, more than any other thing I can de- 
scribe. Business about the Mission much the same as 
it has been heretofore. I went in their church to-day 
for the first time and saw their molten images; they 
have our Savior on the cross, his mother and Mary, the 
mother of James, and 4 of the apostles, all as large as 
life. They appropriate the room, where the images 
stand, to a sugar factory. 

TUESDAY, i6TH. Mr. S. returned from the Parbelo, 
with 41 head of horses, which he purchased at that 
place; he got 8 new saddles from the Padra and set the 
men to work to fix them ; nothing new has taken place 
about the Mission ; things much the same. 

WEDNESDAY, lyTH. All hands are busily employed 
fixing their things ready to start tomorrow morning; 
the old Father has given a great deal to Mr. Smith, 
and some of the men, and continues giving. I expect 
we shall be able to get off early in the morning. Things 
about the Mission much the same. 

THURSDAY, i8TH. All hands were up early this 
morning, and went to the farm, where we had our 
horses, 68 in number, and got them packed, and under 
way in pretty good season. After we got l / 2 mile off 
the Mission, our unpacked horses, together with those 
that had packs on started and run 8 or 10 miles before 
we stoped them; one of the pack horses lossed 12 
dressed skins, that Mr. Smith had got, from our old 
Father of San Gabriel mission, Joseph Sances. We 
traveled a direct course N. E. about 4m. and we [ar- 
rived] at an Ind. farm house where we stayed on the 
27th. November, when we first reached the Spanish 
Inhabitants. 448 Mr. S. and myself intends returning 
to the Mission, this evening. 

448 See footnote 417. In the vicinity of Santa Anita, a station on the At- 

First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 225 

FRIDAY, I9TH. Mr. S. and myself returned to the 
Mission, late last evening and took supper with old 
Father Sancus, for the last time, and our farwell. The 
old Father give each of us a blankett, and give me a 
cheese, and a gourd rilled with ogadent. All hands be- 
ing ready early in the morning, we started and trav- 
elled, and had an Ind. guide, a N. E. course about 25 
m. and enc. at St. Ann, an Ind. farm house, for the 
night; our wild horses created us considerable trouble 
during the day. 449 

SATURDAY, 20TH. Still at St. Ann; Mr. S. commands 
to lie by to-day, as there is five of our best horses miss- 
ing, and hunt them, and brake some other horses; a 
number of the men are employed hunting horses and 
others haltering and brake more. The horse hunters 
returned without finding them; and he intends leaving 
them and proceeding on his journey early tomorrow 

SUNDAY, 21 ST. All hands were up early and getting 
their horses packed ; we were under way in pretty good 
season in the morning, and had an Ind. boy as a pilot; 
we started and travelled a N.E. and by east course, 25 
or 30 m. and reached and Ind, farm house about 4 m. 
distant from San Bernado, and enc, where we have and 
order from the governor, and our old Father Joseph 
Sanchus, at the Mission of San Gabriel, for all the sup- 
plyes we stand in need of. The country quite moun- 
tainous and stoney. 450 

chison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. See United States Geological Sur- 
vey, Pasadena Quadrangle (topographic sheet). 

449 At some point north of Pomona, perhaps on Live Oak Creek. See 
United States Geological Survey. Cucamonga Quadrangle (topographic 

480 They camped near Rialto. San Bernardino was on the frontier of 
Spanish settlement in California. Here, until a period shortly before Smith's 
arrival, there had been only a ranch or two, cultivated by Indians. In 1819, 

226 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

MONDAY, 22ND. Mr. S. and the Interpreter started 
early this morning up to San Bernardano for to see the 
steward, and get supplys. We intend killing some beef 
here and drying meat. I expect we shall remain here 
two or three days. All hands get milk this morning. 
We have killed two beeves and cut the meat, and dry- 
ing it. Mr. S. has got corn, peas, parched meal, and 
flour of wheat. Old Father Sanchus has been the great- 
est friend that I ever met with in all my travels, he is 
worthy of being called a Christian, as he possesses char- 
ity in the highest degree, and a friend to the poor and 
distressed. I ever shall hold him as a man of God, 
taking us when in distress, feeding, and clothing us, 
and may God prosper him and all such men ; when we 
left the Mission he give Mr. S. an order to get every- 
thing he wanted for the use of his company, at San 
Bernandino. The steward complyed with the order 
so soon as it was presented by Mr. S. 

TUESDAY, 23RD. Still at the Ind. farm 3 m. from 
San Burnandeino; some of the men are employed in 
braking horses, and others makeing pack saddles and 
riggin them; Mr. S. sent a letter back this morning to 
old Father Sanchius concerning the horses, we lossed at 
Saint Ann, six in number; he will wait the result of 
his answer. 

WEDNESDAY, 24TH. We are still remaining at the 
Ind. farm waiting the result of the priests answer, and 
drying meat, and repairing saddles for our journey. 
Some of the men are kept employed braking wild 
horses. Daniel Ferguson, one of our men, when leav- 

the Gentiles of the Rancheria Guachana, also called by the Spanish, San 
Bernardino, voluntarily asked for the introduction of agriculture and stock- 
raising. No station was established or buildings erected prior to 1822. 
About that time, a church was erected as a branch of the mission of San 
Gabriel. Illustrated History of Southern California (Chicago, 1890), 409. 

First Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 227 

ing the Mission on the i8th inst. hide himself, and we 
could not find him; the corporal who commands at the 
Mission promised to find him, and send him on to us, 
But I expect we shall not see him again. 451 The weath- 
er continues fine. 

THURSDAY, 25TH. No answer from the priest this 
morning, and we are obliged to remain here another 
day. The men still keep at work, braking young 
horses. Mr. S. discharged one of the men, John Wil- 
son, on the i yth Inst., and he could not get permission 
to stay in the country, therefore we obliged to let him 
come back to us ; he remains with the company but not 
under pay as yet; I expect he will go on with us.* 52 
The weather still continues beautiful. Things about 
our camp much as usual. Inds. traveling back and for- 
ward from the mission steady. The Inds. here call 
themselves the Farrahoots. 453 

FRIDAY, 26TH. Early this morning we collected our 
horses and counted them, and two was missing. Mr. S. 
sent a man in search of them; he returned with them 
about 10 o'clock. We are still at the Ind. farm house, 
waiting an answer from the priest at San Gabriel. I 
expect we shall remain here to-day, if the courier does 
not arrive. In the evening James Reed and myself 
concluded we would go into the cowpen and rope some 

451 See footnote 440. 

452 John Wilson, however, did not go on with them. In May, he was a 
prisoner in the hands of the Mexican authorities at Monterey. The govern- 
ment ordered proceedings to be instituted against him. Departmental Records t 
Mss., vol. v, 45; Archive del Arzobispado, Mss., vol. v, part i, 28-33, cited by 
Bancroft, in California, vol. iii, 156. He is mentioned in the account book of 
Thomas O. Larkin in 1838 and 1839. In 1841 he was given license to marry 
Maria F. Mendoza of San Carlos. Bancroft, op. cit., vol. v, 777. 

453 A tribe of Shoshonean( ?) stock. See Latham, "On the Languages of 
the Northern, Western, and Central Americas," in London Philological So- 
ciety, Transactions (London, 1856), 85. 

228 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

cows and milk them, after the Ind. fashion, accordingly 
we made ready our rope, and haltered four cows, and 
tied their heads up to a steak, and made fast their hind 
feet and milked them, but did not get much milk on 
account of not letting their calves to them; so soon as 
we were done Capt Smith and Silas Gobel followed 
our example. This country in many respects is the 
most desirable part of the world I ever was in, the cli- 
mate so regular and beautiful ; the thermomater stands 
daily from 65 to 70. degrees, and I am told it is about 
the same in summer. 

Mr. S. swaped six of our old horses off for wild 

SATURDAY, 27TH. Still at the Ind. farm house wait- 
ing the answer from the priest. 20 of our horses miss- 
ing this morning and four men sent in search of them. 
Mr. S., and Laplant is gone up to San Burnandeino to 
see the old steward on business. 454 

Having left his men encamped for the summer in 
the valley of the Stanislaus, Smith with his two com- 
panions, one of whom was Silas Gobel, his blacksmith, 
crossed the Sierras and the deserts of Nevada, reaching 
Great Salt Lake about June 17, 1827. Still urging 
forward his single horse and mule, unless, perhaps, he 
exchanged them there for fresher animals, he proceed- 
ed directly to rendezvous, conducted this year at Bear 
Lake, "one of the most beautiful lakes in the West and 
therefore in the world." 455 From the east shore, bare 
hills of burnt siena rise sheer from the water's edge, 
culminating in the gentle domes of the Bear River di- 
vide, while, to the west, beyond a narrow hem of gen- 

454 The first Harrison G. Rogers journal ends abruptly at this point. 

455 Wallace, Dillon. Saddle and Camp in the Rockies (New York, 1911), 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 229 

tly sloping arable, rise sparsely covered hills of hock 
and quaking asp, topped by the dark timber of the main 
Wasatch Ridge. At the north end of the lake is the 
outlet to Bear River, which, at this point, swings in 
from the hills to the east, flows diagonally across the 
lower valley, rounds the hills to the west, not far from 
Soda Springs, marking the main highway from the 
South Pass to the Columbia and Oregon. The valley 
of Bear Lake was a sort of siding on the main line of 
travel, a convenient spot, where trappers could with- 
draw from the beaten way and find seclusion and safety 
for the conduct of their business. Rendezvous was 
usually at the south, or upper,end of the lake, near the 
present Laketown, Randolpn , County, Utah, a point 
some twenty miles from the trail and so situated that 
it could be readily defended in the event of an Indian 

Here Smith met his partners, Jackson and Sublette, 
delivered the few furs he had managed to convey across 
the Sierras, rested his two companions as much as a 
month's respite would allow, wrote a report to William 
Clark summarizing the results of his explorations, and 
started back again to join his men in California. 

Leaving, July 13, he set out with nineteen men, in- 
cluding at least one of the men who had just accompan- 
ied him from California. 456 His companions were, 
Thomas Virgin, Charles Swift, Toussaint Marishall, 
John Turner, Joseph Palmer, Joseph Lepoint, Thomas 
Daws, Richard Taylor, 457 Silas- Gobel, David Cunning- 
ham, Francis Deramme, William Campbell, Boatswain 
Brown, Gregory Ortaga, John B. Ratelle, Pale, Polite, 

456 Silas Gobel returned with him. Compare draft of a letter of Ashley 
to Benton (?), St. Louis, December 24, 1828, in Missouri Historical Society, 
Ashley Mss. 

457 "Harrison G. Rogers Journal," see page 237. 

230 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Robiseau, 458 and Galbraith. 459 Two Indian women also 
accompanied them. 460 They followed the same route 
which Smith had pursued the previous year. He 

Proceeded on S. and S.E. until he passed the Utaw Indians 
with whom he had concluded a treaty the year before; he also 
passed the Sampatch and Piules [V], living on the west border 
of the sand plains and in the vicinity of the Colleredo. His 
course was S. and S.W., leading down the Colleredo until he 
came to the Muchabas Indians, whom he found apparently 
friendly as usual ; he remained with them three days, trading of 
them occasionally some articles of their country produce such as 
beaver, wheat, corn, dried pumpkins, and melons. After the 
trade and intercourse with the Indians was over, Mr. Smith and 
his party, in attempting to cross the river on a raft, was attacked 
by those Indians and completely defeated with a loss of ten men 
and two women (taken prisoners), the property all taken or 
destroyed. 461 

Smith had undertaken to ferry his men across the 
river on rafts, but, as soon as the party was divided, 
some of them on either bank and some of them still on 
the rafts, the Indians, "who in large numbers and with 
most perfect semblance of peace and friendship were 
aiding the party to cross the river, suddenly rose upon 
them and surrounding the party in a most unexpected 
moment and manner" began the attack. 462 The party, 

458 These ten were killed by the Indians while attempting to cross the 
Colorado River. Casualty List, furnished by Smith, Jackson, and Sublette to 
William Clark. Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Letter Book, 299 ff. Kan- 
sas Historical Society Mss. 

459 Isaac Galbraith was discharged in California, December 27, 1827, 
Sublette Mss., carton 10, Missouri Historical Society. 

460 Brief sketch of accidents, misfortunes, and depredations committed by 
Indians on the firm of Smith, Jackson, and Sublette, since July i, 1826, to the 
present, 1829, Kansas Historical Society Mss. 

*ei Idem. 

462 Warner, J. J. "Reminiscences of Early California," in Southern Cali- 
fornia Historical Society, Publications, vol. vii, z8i. The Indians had prob- 
ably been warned by the Mexican government not to allow Americans to cross 
the river and enter California. News of the disaster did not reach St Louis 
till a year later, "I have recently heard of the loss of eight men," etc. Draft 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 231 

being divided, was taken at a great disadvantage. Those 
already across, including Smith, seem to have suffered 
least. Those on the river were very likely all killed 
as were also most, at least, of those on the eastern bank. 
The official narrative continues, 

The loss of all papers and journals prevents Mr. Smith from 
giving precise dates; it happened in August, 1827. Then, as 
no other alternative was left, and in a country destitute of pro- 
visions and water, he was obliged to make for the Spanish settle- 
ments in California in the vicinity of San Gabriel, which he 
accomplished in nine and a half days, including nights, across the 
sand plains and destitute of almost every necessary of life. 
Here he procured some few necessaries to enable him to proceed 
to his party before mentioned, made his report by letter to the 
nearest place of civil intercourse, left two men, one, by his re- 
quest, 463 and the other on account of a wound which he had 
received in the attack. 464 Then, with the remaining seven, he 
pushed on northwardly, joined his party but in a very unpleasant 
situation; their supplies were almost entirely exhausted and he 
without any to assist them. 

During Smith's absence the men had been in diffi- 
culties with the Mexican authorities. Even before his 
departure, in May, the head of the Mission of San Jose, 
Padre Duran, had accused the men of enticing his neo- 
phytes to desert. Although this charge had been dis- 

of a letter of Ashley to Benton (?), December 24, 1828, Missouri Historical 
Society, Ashley Mss. 

*63 Isaac Galbraith. "On October 8, Galbraith asked for an interview 
with Echeandia wishing a license to remain in the country or to rejoin his 
leader. He also corrects an impression that Smith is a captain of troops, 
stating that he is but a hunter of the company of Smith, Jackson, and Sub- 
lette." - Bancroft, California, vol. iii, 158, footnote, citing Departmental State 
Papers, Mss., vol. ii, 36, 37. Galbraith was not dismissed at this time but ac- 
companied Smith north and did not withdraw from his service till December 
27, 1827. Sublette Mss., carton 10, Missouri Historical Society. 

464 Thomas Virgin. He was sent to San Diego where he was placed in 
prison but afterwards released to rejoin Smith. Warner states that Smith, 
himself, was conducted to San Diego but this is unsupported and seems im- 
probable. Warner, J. J. "Reminiscences of Early California," in Southern 
California Historical Society, Publications, vol. vii, 181 ff. 

232 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

missed by the commandant at San Francisco, orders 
were issued, May 18, to find out who the strangers were, 
what their business was, and to demand their passports, 
in short, to detain them till further orders. 465 It was 
too late, however, to secure Smith, for, on the twentieth, 
he had set out for Great Salt Lake, having the previous 
day written Padre Duran as follows : 

REVEREND FATHER: I understand through the medium of 
one of your Christian Indians that you are anxious to know who 
we are, as some of the Indians have been at the Mission and 
informed you that there were certain white people in the coun- 
try. We are Americans, on our journey to the river Columbia. 
We were in at the Mission of San Gabriel, January last. I 
went to San Diego and saw the general and got a passport from 
him to pass on to that place. I have made several efforts to pass 
the mountains, but the snow being so deep, I could not succeed 
in getting over. I returned to this place, it being the only point 
to kill meat, to wait a few weeks until the snow melts so that I 
can go on. The Indians here, also, being friendly, I consider 
it the most safe point for me to remain until such time as I can 
cross the mountains with my horses, having lost a great many in 
attempting to cross ten or fifteen days since. I am a long ways 
from home and am anxious to get there as soon as the nature of 
the case will admit. Our situation is quite unpleasant, being 
destitute of clothing and most necessaries of life, wild meat being 
our principal subsistence. 

I am, Reverend Father, your strange but real friend and 
Christian, (signed) J. S. SMITH. 

May 19, i827. 466 

Far from satisfying the authorities, this letter only 
roused them to greater exertions. By May 23, Echean- 
dia, having learned of the situation, sent word to Smith, 

465 Archive del Arzobispado, Mss., vol. v, part i, 27 and Departmental 
Records, Mss., vol. v, 45, cited by Bancroft in California, vol. iii, 156, foot- 

* M In Guinn, "Captain Jedediah S. Smith," in Southern California Histori- 
cal Society, Publications, vol. iii, part 4, 48 ff. ; also in Cronise, The Natural 
Wealth of California, 44-45. Padre Duran was in charge of the Mission at 
San Jose and President of the Alta California missions, i825.-i827. 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 233 

not knowing that he had already departed, ordering 
him to start homeward at once or else to come to San 
Jose, or to sail on the first vessel that would convey him 
north of the forty-second parallel. 467 After it was dis- 
covered that the leader of the expedition had gone, 
however, less interest seems to have been taken in the 
Americans. From now on the little company on the 
Stanislaus continued unmolested, though they had be- 
come desperately short of food when Smith arrived, 
empty handed. 

It was his last and only resource to try once more the hos- 
pitality of the Californians. He remained with his party two 
days, procured two Indian guides and arrived at the mission of 
St. Joseph in three days. He then made known his situation 
and wants, requested permission to pass through the province to 
the governor's residence (then in Montera) 468 which is 100 
miles distant ; but instead of complying with his request, he was 
immediately conveyed to a dirty hovel which they called a guard 
house, his horses seized and taken away, and only allowed the 
privilege of writing to the captain of the Upper Province. 469 

Several days elapsed before any provisions were made for his 
living except occasional visitations from an old overseer, when a 
lieutenant arrived. After conversing with him, he soon found 
he was to be tried as an intruder on their rights. This news 
confounded Mr. Smith very considerably, as he had entered 
their province the first time in distress also and without molesta- 
tion ; the lieutenant told him he must be under the necessity of 
seeing the governor, but before he left him, his situation was 
much altered for the better. 

467 Echeandia to Martinez [acting commandant at San Francisco], De- 
partmental Records, Mss., vol. v, 48, cited by Bancroft, California, vol. iii, 
158, footnote. 

468 Echeandia had started north from San Diego in March, 1827, being 
absent about a year, most of the time in Monterey, where he was now re- 
siding. At the beginning of his term of office he had offended the residents 
of that city by taking up his headquarters in San Diego. Compare Bancroft, 
California, vol. ii, 551, footnote. 

469 Ex-governor Luis Antonio Arguello was captain of the company of 
San Francisco. At this time he was absent and his place rilled by Lieutenant 
Ignacio Martinez. See Bancroft, California, vol. ii, 583. 

234 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

After the lieutenant's departure, he was detained ten or twelve 
days longer, when he received a polite note from the governor 
to pay him a visit. Then he was stript of his arms and accord- 
ingly complied and started well guarded by four soldiers. The 
third day, at eleven o'clock at night, he arrived in Montera, 
where the governor lived, and was immediately conveyed to the 
callibose without any, refreshment whatever, where he remained 
until eleven o'clock next day, when a messenger arrived stating 
the governor was then ready to receive him. He was conveyed 
to his dwelling and met at the door by the governor, who in- 
vited him to partake of some refreshment, which he readily 
accepted. Mr. Smith soon found he could not have a perfect 
understanding with the governor for want of a proper inter- 
preter. However, he obtained liberty of the limits of the town 
and harbor and of boarding with an American gentleman (Capt. 
Cooper) from Boston.* 70 Next day an interpreter was found 
by the name of Mr. Hartwell, 471 an English gentleman, to 

470 John Rogers Cooper, otherwise known as Juan Bautista Rogers Cooper, 
and, from a deformity, Don Juan el Manco. Born on the island of Alderney, 
in 1792, he had come to Massachusetts as a mere boy with his mother. At 
the age of twenty-one, master of the "Rover," port of Boston, he reached 
California. Here he sold his ship but continued, for three years, to com- 
mand her on voyages to China. Abandoning the sea, he settled down to 
life in Monterey where he was baptized, naturalized, and married. Until 
1839, he was in business in Monterey, but in that year resumed his sea-faring 
life, making many voyages to the Mexican coast and to the Islands. Later 
he resided in San Francisco, dying at the advanced age of ninety. Compare 
Bancroft, California, vol. ii, 765-766. 

471 William [Edward] Petty Hartnell, born, 1798, in Lancashire, had 
lived in South America some time when he came to California on board the 
"John Begg" in 1822. He was a member of the firm of McCulloch, Hartnell 
and Company, agents for John Begg and Company of Lima and for the 
Brothertons of Liverpool and Edinburgh. His firm contracted, in 1823, to 
take the mission produce for two years and for a while did a large business. 
In 1824, he was baptized, the name, Edward, being added at this time, and in 
1825, married Maria Teresa de la Guerra. His business prospered till 1826, 
but, from that time till 1829, constantly declined. After a trip to South 
America, on which he dissolved his partnership, he returned heavily bur- 
dened with debt. He was naturalized in 1830, and, in 1831, undertook the 
life of a ranchero at Alisal. In 1832, he was commander of the Campania 
Extranjera de Monterey supporting Zamorano. From 1833 to 1836, he acted 
as agent for the Russian Company. From 1839 to 1845, he was variously 
employed as interpreter, tithe collector, clerk, teacher, and customs officer. 
From 1845 to 1846, his attitude was unfriendly to the United States, until he 
lost all hope of an English protectorate, on which he had set his heart. The 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 235 

whom Mr. Smith is under many obligations for his kindness and 
liberality towards him. But yet he could not find out what his 
future fate was to be; the governor would sometimes say Mr. 
Smith must go to Mexico, at other times, Mr. S. and party must 
be sent off by water; again he would say, "Send fetch in the 
party here," and continued in this equivocating manner for sev- 
eral days. Then, about the 3rd or 4th Nov., when four Amer- 
ican gentlemen, masters of vessels, took the responsibility on 
themselves and appointed Capt. Cooper, agent for the U. States, 
in order to settle this matter in some shape or manner. Then 
Capt. Cooper became accountable for the conduct of Mr. Smith 
and party. 

Smith having agreed to leave the country, affixed his 
signature to the following guarantee: 472 

I Jed** S. Smith, of Green township in the state of Ohio, do 
hereby bind myself, my heirs, executors, and principals in the 
sum of thirty thousand dollars for the faithful performance of 
a certain Bond, given to the Mexican Government, dated at 
Monterey, 15 Nov. 1827. Witness, RUFUS PERKINS. 

The treaty was finally concluded, the party sent for and 
brought in. Mr. S. was then allowed the privelege of purchas- 
ing such articles as he stood in need of to further his expedition. 
He also learned while at this place that, after his first excursion 
through that country, the governor had instructed the Muchaba 
Indians not to let any more Americans pass through the country 
on any conditions whatever; to this advice, Mr. S. leaves the 
entire cause of his defeat. It undoubtedly was, for any man 
acquainted with the savage and hostile habits of Indians cannot 

United States employed him from 1847 to '850, as official interpreter and 
translator, in which capacity he rendered important services in connection 
with land titles and in the constitutional convention. He died in 1854. 
"Hartnell was a man who enjoyed and merited the respect and friendship 
of all who knew him, being perfectly honest, straightforward in all his trans- 
actions, of most genial temperament, and too liberal for his own interests. 
In some directions he was a man of rare ability, being master of the Spanish, 
French, and German languages, besides his own." Compare Bancroft, Cali- 
fornia, vol. iii, 777 ft. 

472 Bancroft states that three copies of this were made, one sent to Mexico, 
one left in the governor's hands, and one given to Smith. The above is from. 
Smith's copy in the Sublette Mss., carton' 10, Missouri Historical Society. 
Compare Bancroft, California, vol. iii, 159, footnote. 

236 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

judge the matter otherwise. Mr. S. well knows that the two 
Indian guides who led him first to St. Gabriel were immediately 
imprisoned, but luckily for one, he died in prison and escaped 
Spanish cruelty ; the other was sentenced to death, but reprieved 
by the priest. Thos. Virgin, one of the party, who was left on 
account of his wound, was taken to St. Daego, about 250 miles 
south of St. Gabriel and there imprisoned and without half sus- 
tenance. Mr. S., by frequent applications to the governor, had 
him released and sent on to join the party. 

Mr. Smith, finding his party weak, knowing he had a great 
many more hostile tribes to pass, endeavored to strengthen his 
party by engaging more f ten [fifteen more men ?] ; found several 
willing to engage, both Americans and English, but would not 
be allowed permission to engage them. He then traded for 
some articles such as horses, mules, arms, ammunition, and other 
necessaries, merely to enable him to return back from whence he 
came. Then Mr. Smith went on to visit his party, found them 
in St. Francisco in a very deplorable state, and would have suf- 
fered immensely for want of victual and clothing, were it not 
for the timely assistance of Mr. Vermont, a German gentleman, 
who happened to be trading on the coast, to whom Mr. Smith 
is under many obligations. 478 

After the conclusion of the treaty between Capt. Cooper and 
the governor, Mr. S. was allowed two months' time to make all 
necessary preparations to leave the Spanish province, so by very 
expeditious movements, he had himself prepared at the appointed 
time and very near the boundary line; but, on account of the 
lack of a boat to cross the Bonad venture, (which is very large) 
and only one particular route destined for him to pass, so he 
took his own leave and left the province by another route, where 
he knew he could cross the river without their assistance. Mr. 
Smith, being experienced and well acquainted with Spanish gen- 

478 Henry Virmond, a German merchant of Acapulco and Mexico City, 
was in Alta California as early as 1827 (therefore before 1828, the date 
given by Bancroft, California, vol. v, 764). He did a large business in Cali- 
fornia where he was well known by nearly everybody before he visited the 
country. He was a skillful intriguer, enjoyed extraordinary facilities for 
obtaining the ear of Mexican officials, and was always the man first sought 
for any favor by his California friends. He owned several vessels on the 
California coast. He was the tallest man ever seen in the country until the 
arrival of Dr. Semple, 1845. 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 237 

erosity, was unwilling to resign himself and property longer 
than the limited time for fear of further trouble. 

Mr. Smith's party was then 21 men strong (though soon 
after two men deserted) with sufficient supplies to have lasted 
him back to the Little Lake. He moved on slowly up the Bon- 
adventure, which was generally N.N.W., and passing numer- 
ous tribes of Indians, some of which were hostile, he continued 
on the route, still moving very slowly (and at the same time 
passing the winter) until the I3th of April, 1828, when, by 
examination and frequent trials he found it impossible to cross 
a range of mountains which lay to the East. 

We then struck off N. W., leaving the Bonad venture running 
N. E. and coming out of a large range of mountains impassable, 
until we came to the sea-coast. 474 

The second journal of Harrison G. Rogers begins 
with the tenth of May, while they were still in the 
mountains between the Sacramento Valley and the 

The Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 


J. S. Smith . Joseph Lapoint 

H. G. Rogers Abraham Laplant 

Thos. Virgin Thos. Daws 

Arthur Black Charles Swift . 

474 Brief sketch of accidents, misfortunes, and depredations committed by 
Indians on the firm of Smith, Jackson, and Sublette, Indian traders on the 
east and west side of the Rocky Mountains, since July I, 1826, to the present, 
1829, Kansas Historical Society Mss. 

475 Out of the eighteen men here listed (nineteen including Smith, him- 
self) the following were members of the first expedition: H. G. Rogers, 
Arthur Black, John Gaiter, Emanuel Lazarus, Peter Ranne, Abraham La- 
plant, Martin McCoy, John Hanna, [John] Reubascan. The others, Charles 
Swift, Toussaint Marishall, Thomas Virgin, John Turner, Joseph Palmer, 
Joseph Lapoint, Thomas Daws, and Richard Taylor, were new members 
taken by Smith when he started on his second expedition. The annual term 
of employment of Thomas Virgin, John Turner, Joseph Lapoint, and Richard 
Taylor expired July 2, 1828, when they were reengaged. Peter Ranne, or 
John Peter Ranne, seems to have been counted twice. An Indian boy, 
Marion, was added to the party before they reached the Umpqua. 

238 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

John Turner . Richard Taylor 

John Gaiter Martin McCoy 

John Hanna John Reubasco 

Emannuei Lazarus Toussaint Marishall 

Joseph Palmer John Peter Ranne (a man of colour) 

Peter Ranne 

Many men of many minds, and many kinds of many, 

Kinderate of God's creation. 

When young in life and forced to guess my road, 
And not one friend to shield my bark from harm, 

The world received me in its vast abode, 

And honest toil procured its plaudits warm. 

SATURDAY, MAY IOTH, 1828. We made and early 
start this morning, stearing N.W. about 5 miles, thence 
w. 7 miles and encamped, on a small creek, and built a 
pen for our horses, as we could not get to grass for 
them. The travelling very bad, several very steep, 
rocky and brushy points of mountains to go up and 
down, with our band of horses, and a great many of 
them so lame and worn out that we can scarce force 
them along; 15 lossed on the way, in the brush. 2 of 
them with loads ; the most of the men as much fatigued 
as the horses; one of the men, lossed his gun, and could 
not find it. We have had more trouble getting our 
horses on to-day, than we have had since we entered 
the mount. We crossed a creek close by the mouth 15 
or 20 yards wide heading south, and emptying into the 
river east at an course, the current quite swift, and 
about belly deep to our horses. 476 Some beavers sign 
discovered by the men. The day clear and warm. 
But one Ind. seen to-day; he was seen by Capt. Smith 

476 The camp on the night of May 9-10 was on the main branch of the 
Trinity River, not far above the mouth of the South fork, near Burnt Ranch, 
Trinity County, California. The morning of the tenth, they proceeded north- 
west five miles and then west seven miles, making a total of twelve, in the 
course of which, they crossed the south fork of the Trinity. Continuing, they 
camped perhaps on Campbell's Creek, Humboldt County. 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 239 

as he generally goes ahead, and I stay with the rear to 
see that things are kept in order. 

SUNDAY, MAY i ITH, 1828. As our horses was with- 
out food last night, we was up early, and dispatched 
four men after those that was left back yesterday, and 
had the others packed and under way a little after sun 
rise, directing our course up a steep point of mountain, 
very rocky and brushy about ^ of a mile. The course 
N.W. 2 miles and struck into an open point of moun- 
tain where there was good grass and encamped, as the 
most of our horses was nearly down. 477 We had a great 
deal of trouble getting them up the mountain with 
there loads on; a number would fall with their packs, 
and roll 20 or 30 feet down among the sharp rocks, 
several badly cut to pieces with the rocks. 

The four men that was sent back returned late in the 
evening, they had got 12 of the horses that were miss- 
ing, and among them the 2 that had loads; the man that 
lost his gun could not find it. Three deer killed in the 
evening, the meat poor. 

MONDAY, MAY I2TH. We concluded to remain 
here to-day and let the horses rest; 2 men sent back 
after the other horses that are still missing; one left 
yesterday that could not be got along, that had entirely 
given out. The two men returned late, found one of 
the lossed horses, But could not drive him to camp, 
consequently we shall loose them as Capt. Smith in- 
tends moving camp early to-morrow. The day clear 
and warm. 

TUESDAY, MAY 13, 1828. All hands called early 
and ready for a start, directing our course N.W. over 
high ranges of rocky and brushy points of mountains, 
as usual, and travelled 6 m. and encamped on the side 

477 Still in the mountains, camping near Supply Creek. 

240 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

of a grassy mou., 478 where there was an abundance of 
good grass for the horses, but little water for them. 
We had a great deal of difficulty to drive them on ac- 
count of brush and the steepness of the points of moun- 
tain; two left that could not travel and a great many 
more very lame; the weather good. 

WEDNESDAY, MAY i4TH. We made and early start, 
directing our course as yesterday N.W., and traveled 
4 m. and enc, on the top of a high mountain, where 
there was but indifferent grass for our horses.* 79 The 
travelling amazing bad; we descended one point of 
Brushy and Rocky Mountain, where it took us about 6 
hours to get the horses down, some of them falling 
about 50 feet perpendicular down a steep place into a 
creek; one broke his neck; a number of packs left along 
the trail, as night was fast approaching, and we were 
oblige to leave them and get what horses we could col- 
lected at camp ; a number more got badly hurt by the 
falls, but none killed but this one that broke his neck. 

Saw some Inds. that crossed the river in a canoe and 
came to me; I give them some beads, as presents; they 
made signs that they wanted to trade for knives, but I 
told them that I had none; they give me a lamper eel 
dryed, but I could not eat it. 

They appear afraid of horses; they are very light 
coloured Inds., quite small and talkative. 480 The 
weather still good. 

478 The two miles of May eleventh and the six miles of the thirteenth 
brought them to a point on the divide between Trinity River and Redwood 
Creek, on the slopes of Hoopa Mountain. 

479 They camped on the divide, but still on the eastern slope, not far 
north of Elder. 

480 The first account of the interesting Hupa Indians, of Athapascan 
stock, who were not encountered by the whites again till 1850. They oc- 
cupied the Trinity River from its mouth to Burnt Ranch. They were a pow- 
erful and important tribe, whose language was the lingua franca among 
most of the tribes of northern California. All these tribes are described as 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 241 

THURSDAY, I$TH MAY, 1828. The men was divid- 
ed in parties this morning, some sent hunting, as we 
had no meat in camp, others sent back after horses and 
packs that was left back. 

5 Inds. came to camp ; I give them some beads ; they 
appear quit friendly; shortly after fifteen or 20 came, 
and among them one squaw, a very good featured wo- 
man; she brought a dressed skin and 2 worked boles for 
sale ; I bought them from her for beads. The hunters 
killed 5 deer. The balance of the horses and packs, 
was got to camp about 4 oc. in the evening; the men 
quit fatigued climbing up and down the hills. The 
weather still good. Some black bear seen by the hunt- 

FRIDAY, MAY i6TH, 1828. We concluded that it 
was best to lie by today and send two men to look out a 
pass to travel, as the country looks awful a head, and 
let our poor horses rest, as there is pretty good grass 
about i mile off for them to feed on. 20 or 30 Inds. 
visited our camp in the course of the day, bringing eels 
for trade and roots ; the men bought the most of them 
giving awls and beads in exchange. Capt. Smith made 
them some small presents, and bought one B. skin from 
them; the women does the principal trading. Those 
Inds. are quite civil and friendly; the weather still 

SATURDAY, MAY iyTH 1828. The 2 men that were 
sent on discovery yesterday returned this morning and 
say that we are 15 or 20 miles of the North Paciffic 

"pudgy" except the Yuroks. For further comment on the Hupas see Powers, 
"Tribes of California," in United States Bureau of Ethnology, Contributions 
to North American Ethnology (Washington, 1877), 72-77. See also God- 
dard, "Life and Culture of the Hupa," in University of California, Publica- 
tions in American Archaeology and Ethnology, vol. i. Goddard states that 
the coming of Smith made little, if any, impression on the tribe. 

242 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Ocean; 481 they report game plenty, such as elk and 
deer; they report the traviling favourable to what it 
has been for 30 or 40 m. back. On there return, we 
concluded to remain here again to-day on account of 
our horses being so very lame and soar from the bruises 
they got on the i4th inst. The morning cloudy and 
rainy. The 2 men, Marishall and Turner, that were 
sent off yesterday, killed 3 deer, and Capt. Smith has 
dispatched 2 men after the meat, as the camp is almost 

Mr. Virgin and Ransa quite unwell this morning. 
The day continues cloudy and rainy, and quite cold 
towards evening. 

SUNDAY, MAY i8lH, 1828. As we intended moving 
camp, the horses were sent for early, and got to camp 
about 10 oc. A.M., packed and started, directing our 
course W. 3 miles and struck into a small Hill Pararie, 
where there was grass and water, and encamped, as the 
distance were too great to go to any other place of grass 
to-day for the horses, 482 from what Turner and Mari- 
shall tell us about the route from here to the ocean. 
The morning being so thick with fogg, the men that 
was sent after the horses did not find them all; Capt. 
Smith took 2 men with him, and went back after those 
that could not be found in the morning, and I went on 
with the company, and encamped before he joined me 
with those that he went back after; he found nine that 
was left and brought eight to camp, one being so lame 
that he could not travel, and he was oblige to leave him ; 
the weather clear and windy. 

MONDAY, MAY ipTH 1828. We made and early 
start this morning, stearing our course as yesterday, 6 

481 The two men, Turner and Marishall, crossed the divide and from 
the western slope sighted the Pacific, off Rocky Point. 

482 Still on the divide but presumably on the western, or Redwood, slope. 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 243 

miles west, and encamped on the side of a mountain, 
where their was plenty of good grass and water for our 
horses. Just before we encamped, there was a small 
band of elk seen by Capt. Smith and those men that was 
in front with horses ; they went after them and killed 6, 
two of which number were in good order. The travel- 
ling some better than it was back, although we have 
Hills and Brush to encounter yet; we encamped about 
6 m. from the ocean, where we have a fair view of it. 483 

4 Inds. came to camp in the evening and stay all 
night. Capt. Smith give them some small presents of 
beads and some elk meat; they eat a part and carried 
the balance off with them; they appear quit friendly 
as yet 48 * 

TUESDAY, MAY ZOTH. As our horses was lame and 
tired, we concluded to remain here and let them rest, 
and kill and dry meat, as elk appeared to be plenty 
from the sign. 

After breakfast, myself and Mr. Virgin started on 
horse back for the sea shore, following and Ind. Trail 
that led immediately there; after proceeding about 5 
m. west, we found we could not get any further on 
horse back along the Ind. trail, so we struck out from 
the creek that we had followed down, about 3 miles 
from where we first struck it; this creek being about 40 
yards wide, heading into a Mou. south and emptying 
into the ocean at a N. W. direction. After leaving the 
creek with considerable difficulty, we ascended a point 
of steep and brushy mountain, that runs along parallel 
with the sea shore, and followed that, until we could 

483 Six miles from the ocean. In the course of the day, they must have 
crossed Redwood Creek and, climbing the western slope, camped on the 

484 Probably the Chillule, a tribe occupying the Redwood for twenty 
miles from the coast. They were subject to the Hupa. See Powers, op. cit., 

244 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

get no further for rocks and brush. We got within 80 
or 100 yards of the beach, but, being pretty much fa- 
tigued and not able to ride down on account of rocks 
and brush, we did not proceed any further in that di- 
rection. Seeing that it was impossible to travel along 
where we had been with the company, we concluded to 
turn and travel a cross a point of mou. that run N.E., 
but we could not get a long, the travelling so bad ; we 
then concluded to stear for camp, as it was get[ting] on 
towards night. On our return we saw some elk; I 
went after them, and Mr. Virgin stay with the horses. 
I did not get to fire on them, and saw a black bare and 
made after him, and shot and wounded him very bad, 
and heard Mr. Virgin shoot and hollow in one minute 
after my gun were discharged, and tell me to come to 
him. I made all the haste I could in climbing the mou, 
to where Mr. Virgin was; he told me that some Inds. 
had attacked him in my absence, shoot a number of ar- 
rows at him and wounded the horses, and, he supposed, 
killed them by that time, that he had shot one, and was 
waiting for me. I rested a few minutes and proceed 
on cautiously to the place where we Kad left our horses, 
and found an Ind. lying dead and his dog by him, and 
Mr. Virgin's horse with 2 or 3 arrows in him, and he 
laying down. We got him up and made camp a little 
before night, and there was 7 or 8 Inds. at camp when 
we got there, and I made signs to them that we were at- 
tacked by some of there band, shoot at, one of our 
horses wounded, and we had killed one; they packed 
up and put off very soon. 485 The day very foggy at 
times; some little rain in the evening. Mr. Smith told 

485 Rogers and Virgin had followed down Redwood Creek nearly to its 

mouth. Finding their way impeded, they had turned northwest toward the 

sea, but here again, finding their course impassable, they had struck back 

toward the slopes of the mountain range running parallel with the sea south 

of Sharp Point. The attacking Indians were very likely Chillule. 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 245 

me that he had sent two men back after the horses that 
were missing with instructions to stay and hunt them 
until tomorrow, if they did not find them to-day. 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21 ST. Still at the same camp; 
those two men that was sent after the lossed horses still 
absent. A considerable quantity of rain fell last night; 
the morning continues to be showery and foggy. The 
men that were sent back after horses yesterday re- 
turned, late in the evening, without finding but one; 
they say they suppose the Inds. to have killed the rest. 
The timber in this part of this country is principally 
hemlock, pine, and white ceadar, the most of the ceadar 
trees from 5 to 15 feet in diameter and tall in propor- 
tion to the thickness, the under brush, hazle, oak, briars, 
currents, goose berry, and Scotch cap bushes, 486 together 
with aldar, and sundry other shrubs too tedious to men- 
tion ; the soil of the country rich and black, but very 
mountainous, which renders the travelling almost im- 
passable with so many horses as we have got. 

THURSDAY, MAY 22ND, 1828. All hands up early 
and preparing for a move, had the horses drove to camp 
and caught ready for packing up, and it commenced 
raining so fast that we concluded to remain here again 
to-day, as we could [not] see how to direct our course 
for fog along the mountains. We have not seen or 
heard any Inds. since the 2Oth that Mr. Virgin killed 
the one that shoot at his horse. 

Oh! God, may it please thee, in thy divine provi- 
dence, to still guide and protect us through this wilder- 
ness of doubt and fear, as thou hast done heretofore, 
and be with us in the hour of danger and difficulty, as 
all praise is due to thee and not to man, oh! do not for- 
sake us Lord, but be with us and direct us through. 

FRIDAY, MAY 23RD, 1828. The morning being clear, 

486 The black raspberry, or thimblcberry, rubus occidentalis. 

246 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

we were ready for a start early, directing our course 
East, back on the trail we travelled on the i9th inst, 
and made the same camp and stopped, it being 6 miles, 
and concluded to remain the balance of the day and let 
our meat and other wet articles get dry. 48 ' We had 
but little difficulty getting along, as we had a good 
trail that were made by our horses passing along be- 
fore; the day clear and pleasant. 

SATURDAY, MAY 24111. All hands up early and 
ready for a move about 8 oc. A.M., directing our course 
N.E., 4 miles, and encamped within 100 yards of In- 
dian Scalp River, on the side of the mountain where 
there was plenty of good grass for our horses. 488 

Capt. Smith went down to the river, where there is 
a large Indian village on the opposite side, and called 
to the Inds., and there were 4 crossed over, 2 men, i 
woman and a boy about 12 or 14 years of age, and came 
to camp with him; he made them a present of a few 
beeds. The day cloudy and misty. There being some 
horses missing when we encamped, 2 men were sent 
immediately back in search of them and found them 
and got back a little after sun set. One mule killed this 
morning by haltering him and throwing him. 

SUNDAY, MAY 25TH. As is usual when travelling, 
we was up and made and early start, directing our 
course N.E. about i mile and struck Ind. Scalp River 
opposite to and Ind. village, and got the Inds., with 
there canoes, to cross our plunder and selves. We 
drove in our horses, and they swam across, where they 
had to swim from 250 to 300 yards. We give those 
Inds. that assisted in crossing our goods, beeds and 

487 Their course was a little to the south and east, taking them back to 
the camp of the nineteenth on the Redwood Ridge. 

488 Having started from their camp of the nineteenth on the Redwood 
divide, they crossed the ridge and encamped near the Trinity, called by 
Smith, Indian Scalp River. 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 247 

razors for there trouble; there was a number visited our 
camp in the course of the day, men, women, and chil- 
dren; some brought lamprey eels for sale; the men 
bought them, giving beeds in exchange. Those Inds. 
live in lodges built similar to our cabbins, with round 
holes about 18 inches in diameter for doors; they ap- 
pear friendly and say nothing about the Ind. that Mr 
Virgin killed on the 2Oth inst. About 10 oc. A.M 1 ., it 
commenced raining and continued to rain on pretty 
fast during the day. 

We cannot find out what those Inds. call themselves ; 
the most of them have wampum and pieces of knives. 
Some have arrow points of iron; they also have some 
few beaver and otter skins. Mr. Smith purchases all 
the beaver fur he can from them. The foundation of 
there lodges are built of stone with stone floors ; the ap- 
pear quit affraid when we first reached the river and 
called to them, but, after coakesing, one came across 
with his canoe, and, showing him by signs what we 
wanted, he soon complyed, and called to others who 
came with canoes and comm. X our goods. 489 Deer 
killed to-day; the meat all poor. 

489 "Commenced crossing our goods." Smith and his party crossed the 
Trinity above the Klamath and encamped on the eastern bank. The Indians 
encountered were probably the Yurok, who had no name for themselves, 
but only names for their individual villages. They are of Weitspeken lin- 
guistic stock, but their language is quite distinct from the Hupa, being notable 
for its gutturals. They occupied the Klamath from the confluence of the 
Trinity to the sea and a short distance along the coast. The house, which 
Rogers describes, is typical of the Yurok and also of their neighbors, the 
Hupa, the construction of a stone foundation being particularly characteristic 
of the latter. The Hupa excavated a round cellar three or four feet deep, 
which was walled with stone. Round the cellar and resting on the surface 
of the ground, a circular wall was erected, on which poles, puncheons, and 
great strips of redwood bark were leaned in the form of a dome. Sometimes 
the stone wall was built outside the conical covering. Doors of the kind 
described by Rogers were made by boring a circular hole through one of the 
puncheons just large enough to admit of an Indian crawling through on all 
fours. Some of these holes had sliding panels on the inside, rendering them 

248 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

MONDAY, MAY 26TH, 1828. We made an early 
start this morning, directing our course N.E., and 
ascended a very long and steep point of grassy moun- 
tain, and reached the divide, and kept it about 6 miles, 
the travilling good, and encamped on the side of the 
mountain where there was pretty good grass for our 
horses. 490 I killed one fat buck to day, and Mr. Virgin 
killed a small doe, but poor fat. We counted our 
horses, and find that three got drowned yesterday in 
crossing the river, we saw one of them floating down 
the river this morning. The day clear and pleasant; 
2 Inds. started with us this morning, as pilots, but soon 
got tired and left us. 

TUESDAY, MAY 27111. Capt. Smith and Mr. Virgin 
started early this morning ahead to look out a road to 
travel; I stay and had the horses caught and packed, 
and started following the blazes through the woods, a 
N.W. course, descending a very steep and brushy point 
of mountain, about 3 miles, and struck a creek 25 or 30 
yards in width, heading east, and running west into Ind. 
Scalp River, and enc. (for the day), as there was some 
horses missing, and sent 3 men back on the trail to look 
after them. 491 There was 8 or 10 Inds. came to camp, 
soon after we stoped; Capt. Smith give them a few 
beeds; they have a fishing establishment on the creek. 
The day pleasant and clear; one horse left to-day. 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 28TH. We made and early start 
this morning, stearing our course N.E. up a very steep 
and brushy point of the mountain, and got on the ridge, 
or divide, between the creek and river, and travelled 

"baby-tight" on occasion. Shell money, wampum, was the usual medium of 
exchange. See Powers, op. at., 45 ff., 74. 

490 They traveled this day up the semi-circular divide between the Trin- 
ity and the Klamath, camping on the slopes of the mountain. 

4W They reached the Klamath, not far above its confluence with the 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 249 

about 7 miles on it, and enc, on the top of the moun- 
tain, where there was but little grass for horses. 402 
The day so foggy that we could scarce see how to get 
along on the ridge, at times; late in the evening, it 
cleared off, and we had a fair view of the ocean. It 
appeared to be about 15 or 20 miles distant. 

THURSDAY, MAY 29111. All hands up early and 
making ready for a move ; about 10 oc. A.M., our horses 
were collected together, and we got under way, follow- 
ing the trail that we came yesterday, about 2 miles, 
S.W., and found some water in a ravine and encamped, 
the day being so foggy that we could not see how to di- 
rect our course to the river, and sent 2 men to hunt a 
pass to travel; they returned in the evening without 
finding any route that we could get along with our 
band of horses. 493 The timber of the country as usual 
pine and white ceadar. 

FRIDAY, MAY SOTH, 1828. All hamds up early this 
morning and out after horses, as they were very much 
scattered, and got them collected about 10 o.c., and 
star[t]ed down a step and brushy ridge, a N.W. course, 
and travelled about 3 m., and struck a small creek, 
where there was a little bottom of good grass and clov- 
er, and encamped. 494 The horses got so that it was 
almost impossible to drive them down the mou. amongst 
the brush; 8 or 10 left back in the brush, and six men 
sent back after them; they got them to camp just at 

492 Again on the divide between the upper and lower Klamath. From 
the ridge the ocean is easily visible, distant about seventeen miles. The 
mountains come down so close to the river in the canon of the Klamath 
that they found it impossible to proceed except along the ridge. 

493 An effort to reach the river by traveling two miles southwest re- 
sulted in failure, the men sent ahead finding the country too rough for 
horses. They probably tried to descend Peewan Creek. 

494 Still traveling northwest, along the ridge, parallel to the Klamath. 
Several small streams enter the river on the east side, the most important 
being Blue Creek. 

250 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

dark; one lost entirely that the men could not find; the 
rear part of the compy, that stay with me, had a serious 
time running up and down the mountain after horses 
through the thickets of brush and briars. 2 elk killed 
to day by Mr. Virgin; the morning clear, and the even- 
ing foggy. 

SATURDAY, MAY 3151, 1828. Capt. Smith concluded 
we would stay here a part of the day and send 2 men 
to look out a pass to the river; they returned about 11 
o.c' and say that we will be obliged to climb the moun- 
tain again at this place, and go along the ridge for 2 or 
3 miles, and then descend to the main river, as it is im- 
possible to go along the creek with horses for cut 
rocks. 498 As it had commenced raining when those 
men returned, we concluded to stay here to day, as 
there was plenty of good grass for our horses. Two 
Inds 496 came to camp in the rain, and brought a few 
rasberrys that are larger than any species of rasberrys 
I ever saw; the bush also differ from those I have been 
acquainted with; the stock grow from 8 to 10 feet in 
highth, covered with briars, and branches off with a 
great many boughs, the leaf is very similar to those 
vines I have been acquainted with heretofore. Capt. 
Smith give those Inds. some meat, and they say they 
will go with us from here to the ocean. 

It rained fast from the time it commenced in the 
forenoon, untill night. 

SUNDAY, JUNE IST, 1828. We got our horses about 
10 o.c. A.M. and packed up and started in the rain, as 
it had not quit from the time it commenced yesterday, 
directing our course west, up a steep and brushy moun- 
tain, and travelled about 3 miles and enc. in a small 

495 The scouting party probably followed down the slope of the mountain 
toward the river but found their way impassable. 
* Probably Yuroks. 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 251 

bottom pararie, principally covered with ferns; 497 the 
travelling amazing bad; we left several packs of fur 
on the road and lost several pack horses and some loose 
horses, the day being so rainy that it was almost impos- 
sible to get up and down the mountains; the road be- 
came quite mirery and slippery. Capt Smith got 
kicked by a mule and hurt pretty bad. When I reached 
camp with the rare [rear], it was night, and all hands 
very wet and tired. 

MONDAY, JUNE 2ND, 1828. Capt. Smith concluded 
to remain here and send some men back after the fur 
that was left, and to hunt horses; they returned about 
noon, bringing all the horses and packs that was left. 
Some men went hunting but killed nothing. Two 
Inds. 498 came to camp and brought some rasberrys; Mr. 
Smith give them a few beeds. The morning wet; about 
i o.c. P.M., it cleared off, and the balance of the day 
fair. Capt Smith goes about although he was much 
hurt by the kick he received yesterday. 

TUESDAY, MAY [JUNE] 3RD, 1828. We made an 
early start this morning, directing our course N.W. up 
a steep point of Brushy Mou., and travelled about 2 m., 
and enc. in the river bottom, where there was but little 
for our horses to eat; 499 all hands working hard to get 
the horses on, as they have become so much worn out 
that it is almost impossible to drive through brush; we 
have two men every day that goes a head with axes to 
cut a road, and then it is with difficulty we can get 
along. The day clear and pleasant. 

WEDNESDAY, MAY [JUNE] 4TH. As our horses were 
very much fatigued, we made and early start again, 

497 After four miles of scrambling over the rough mountain side, they 
encamped not far from the river, having passed into Del Norte County. 

*8 Still the Yuroks. 

499 At last they reached the river where, emerging from the mountains, 
it flows through a narrow valley before entering the sea. 

252 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

this morning, to get to grass, but, the road proving both 
brushy and mirery, we only made i l / 2 miles, a N.W. 
course, during the day; the men almost as well as horses 
done out. We were obliged to enc. again in the river 
bottom and build a pen for our horses, as there was no 
grass for them. 500 5 Inds. came to me and brought some 
rasberrys, and give me; I give them a few beeds and 
went on, and left a coloured man by the name of Ransa 
with them, and had not been absent but a few minutes 
before he called to me and said the Inds. wanted to rob 
him of his blanket, that they had rushed into the bushes 
and got there bows and arrows; he fired on them and 
they run off leaving 2 or 3 small fishes. The Inds. that 
have visited our camps some time back generally came 
without arms and appeared very friendly; those I left 
with Ransa had no arms at the time they came to me, 
which induced me to believe that he told me a lie, as 
I suppose he wanted to get some berrys and fish without 
pay, and the Inds. wanted his knife and he made a false 
alarm, for which I give him a severe reprimand. The 
day clear and warm. 

THURSDAY, JUNE STH, 1828. Our horses being 
without food again last night, we packed up and made 
and early start, sending some men a head to cut a road 
to where there was a small bottom of grass on a creek 
that comes into Ind. Scalp River, about 10 yards wide; 
the distance being about 2 miles, a N.W. course. 801 We 
reached it about 1 1 o.c.' A.M., and enc., one mule and 2 
horses left to-day, that coud not travel. No Inds. seen 
to-day; one man sent hunting but killed nothing, and 
we are entirely out of provision with the exception of a 
few pounds of flour and rice. Capt. Smith give each 

500 Still along the river, which is heavily timbered on both banks. 

501 They were now near the mouth of the Klamath, not far from the 
present town of Requa. 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 253 

man a half pint a flour last night for their supper; we 
can find no game to kill although there is plenty of elk 
and bear sign. The day clear and pleasant. The most 
of the men went hunting after they had enc., but found 
nothing to kill ; we killed the last dog we had along, and 
give out some more flour. 

FRIDAY, JUNE 6TH, 1828. Myself and six men 
started early hunting, but killed nothing; 5 others start- 
ed after we returned, as we intend staying at this camp 
for several days for the purpose of recruiting our 
horses. 8 Inds ventured to camp and brought a few 
lamprey eels and some ransberrys; they were soon pur- 
chased by Mr. Smith and the men for beeds. 502 The 
morning foggy and cloudy, the after part of the day 
clear and pleasant. 

The hunters all returned without getting meat, and 
we were obliged to kill a horse for to eat. 

SATURDAY, JUNE yTH, 1828. At the same camp; 
some men pressing beaver fur, and 2 sent hunting, and 
3 others sent back to look for loossed horses. The 
horses hunters returned without finding but one horse; 
they report 2 dead that was left back. 1 8 or 20 Inds. 
visited camp again to-day with berrys, mussels, and 
lamprey eels for sale; those articles was soon purchased, 
with beeds, by Capt. Smith and the men, and when the 
Inds. left camp, they stole a small kitten belonging to 
one of the men; they come with out arms and appear 
friendly but inclined to steal. The day clear and pleas- 

SUNDAY, JUNE STH, 1828. As we intend moving 
camp, we was up and ready for a start, early, stearing 
our course N.W., about 3^ miles over two small points 

502 The Indians of this vicinity lived chiefly on fish, catching eels in 
traps which they affixed to stakes driven in the river bottom. Powers, op. 
cit., 103. 

254 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

of mou. and enc. on the sea shore, where there was a 
small bottom of grass for our horses. 605 The travelling 
ruff, as we had several thickets to go through ; it made 
it bad on account of driving horses, as they can scarce 
be forced through brush any more. There was several 
Ind. lodges on the beach and some Inds. ; we got a few 
clams and some few dried fish from them. Some 
horses being left, I took four men with me and went 
back and stay all night in a small Pararie. 

MONDAY, JUNE QTH. I was up early and started the 
men that stay with me all night after horses and to hunt 
at the same time for meat, as I had left the camp en- 
tirely destitute; we hunted hard until 9 or 10 o.c. A.M., 
but killed nothing. Gaiter wounded a black bear, but 
did not get him. 6 horses was found that was left, 
when all hands came in, we saddled up our horses and 
started for camp, and reached it about the middle of the 
day. All the men that was sent hunting in the morn- 
ing from camp had come in without killing anything. 
Some Inds. in camp with a few small fishes and clams; 
the men, being hungry, soon bought them and eat them. 
They also brought cakes made of sea grass and weeds 
and sold to the men for beeds. Where we encamped, 
there was a small creek pulling into the ocean at a south 
direction. Capt. Smith started out again to try his 
luck and found a small band of elk and killed 3 ; he 
returned to camp and got some men and horses and 
brought all the meat in, which was a pleasing sight to 
a set of hungry men. The day clear and pleasant. 

TUESDAY, JUNE IOTH. We concluded to stay here 
to-day, dry meat, make salt, and let our horses rest, as 
there is good grass and clover for them. A number of 

508 They had, at last, reached the sea, camping north of the Requa. From 
this point to June twelfth, the itinerary is difficult to follow for the distances 
are underestimated. 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 255 

Inds. in camp with berrys, but do not find so good a 
market for them as they did yesterday. The morning 
cloudy and foggy, some rain towards evening. The 
men appear better satisfied than they do when in a state 
of starvation. 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE IITH. As we intended moving 
camp, the men was called early, and, preparing for a 
start, we were under way about 9 o.c. in the morning, 
directing our course N.W. up a steep point of mou. 
along the sea coast, and travelled about 2 m., and en- 
tered the timber and brush, and kept along a small di- 
vide between the sea shore and creek we left, and trav- 
elled 3 m. further and enc. in the woods, without grass 
for our horses, and built a pen and kept them in through 
the night. 504 The travelling very bad on account of 
brush and fallen timber; several horses left with packs 
that got hid in the brush and was passed and not seen 
by the men. When we was ready for a start, our fellin 
axe and drawing knife was missing, and the Inds. had 
left the camp. Capt. Smith took 5 men with him and 
went to there lodges, and the Inds. fled to the mou. and 
rocks in the ocean ; he caught one and tyed him, and we 
brought him on about 2 miles and released him. The 
axe was found where they had buryed it in the sand. 
The day cloudy and foggy. 

THURSDAY, JUNE I2TH. All hands up early and 
ready for a start, directing our course W. about 2 miles 
and struck a small creek, where there was some grass 
on the mountain for our horses, and enc. for the day, 
the traveling very bad. The horses that was left yes- 
terday, was found to-day 505 and brought to camp. The 
day clear; some fog in the morning. 

504 Following the coast, north, a short distance back from the shore, they 
reached Wilson Creek. There are a number of rocks off the shore at this 

BOS They camped about midway between Requa and Crescent City. 

256 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

FRIDAY, JUNE ISTH, 1828. We made and early 
start again this morning, stearing N.W., about 6 m, and 
struck the ocean, and enc. on the beach. 50 * Plenty of 
grass on the mountain for our horses, but very steep for 
them to climb after it. The traveling very mountain- 
ous; some brush as yesterday. 2 mules left today that 
give out and could not travel; one young horse fell 
down a point of mou. and killed himself. The day 
clear and pleasant. 

SATURDAY, JUNE 14, 1828. We made and early 
start again this morning, directing our course along the 
sea shore N., about i mile, and struck a low neck of 
land running into the sea, where there was plenty of 
clover and grass for our horse, and enc. for the day. 507 
We travelled in the water of the ocean 3 or 4 hundred 
yards, when the swells some times would be as high as 
the horses backs. 2 men sent back after a load of fur 
that was lossed yesterday, and to look after horses. 2 
hunters dispatched after elk as soon as we enc. One 
fat deer killed yesterday by J. Hanna. Seven or 8 Inds. 
came to camp ; Capt. Smith give them some beads. The 
hunters returned without killing any game; saw plenty 
of elk sign. The day clear and windy. 

SUNDAY, JUNE I^TH, 1828. Several men started 
hunting early, as we intended staying here to day and 
letting our horses rest. Joseph Lapoint killed a buck 
elk that weighed 695 Ibs., neat weight; the balance of 
the hunters came in without killing. A number of 
Inds. visited our camp again to day, bringing fish, 
clams, strawberrys, and a root that is well known by 
the traders west of the Rocky Mountains by the name 

606 Finding their progress easier, they managed to reach a point just 
south of Crescent City, where they encamped. For a description of this 
stretch of coast, see Chase, California Coast Trails (Boston, 1913), 307 ff. 

507 A mile from the camp, they struck the long neck of land called Point 
St. George, and encamped on the side facing the open sea. 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 257 

of commeser, 508 for trade. All those articles was soon 
purchased. The day cloudy, windy, and foggy, some 
rain in the afternoon. Cap. Smith and Mr. Virgin 
went late in the evening to hunt a pass to travel and 
found a small band of elk and killed two. 

MONDAY, JUNE i6TH. We made and early start this 
morning, directing our course N.N.W. across a neck 
of land projecting or running into the ocean, and trav- 
elled 4 m., and enc. in a parade, where there was plenty 
of grass for our horses. We had considerable difficulty 
getting our horses a cross a small branch, that was a 
little mirery; we were obliged to make a pen on the 
bank to force them across, which detained us several 
hours. 509 The day clear and warm. 

TUESDAY, JUNE lyTH, 1828. We started early 
again this morning, stearing our course, as yesterday, 
N.N.W., 2 miles, and found the travelling in the bot- 
tom so amazing brushy and mirery we concluded to go 
back a few hundred yards to the pararie and encamp, 
dry what meat we had on hand, and send some men to 
look out a pass to travel when we leave here. 510 We 
also sent some hunters out. Joseph Lapoint killed a 
fine buck elk, and Mr. McCoy killed a fawn elk. The 
day clear and warm, plenty of muskeatoes, large horse 
flies, and small knats to bite us and pester6us early of 
mornings and late in the evenings. The timber along 
the bottom, ceador, hemlock of the largest size, under 
brush, hazle, briars, aldar, and sundry other srubs ; the 
soil very rich and black. 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE i8TH, 1828. We concluded to 

sos The kamas root. 

5oo Proceeding along the point, they camped on its northern extremity 
near Lake Earl. 

510 They advanced a couple of miles but, finding the ground in the vicinity 
of Lake Earl swampy and impassable, they returned to the higher prairie 
and encamped. 

258 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

stay here to day, and dry meat, and do some work that 
could not well be dispensed with, and send some men 
off to hunt a road to travel to-morrow, as those that 
were sent yesterday did not reach the ocean. They 
say the traveling was tolerable as far as they went. 
Some more hunters sent out this morning; and men 
sent after the meat that was killed last evening. The 
day clear and very warm. Those men that was sent 
to hunt a road, returned late in the evening and say 
that we cannot travel along the bottom for swamps and 
lakes. 611 The hunters returned without killing any 
game. A number of Inds. visited our camp with clams, 
fish, strawberrys, and some dressed skins for sale, also 
commerss roots, ready prepared for eating; they appear 
friendly but inclined to steal without watching; they 
differ from the Ind. Scalp River Inds. in speach a 
little. 512 

THURSDAY, JUNE I9TH. As those men that was sent 
to hunt a road yesterday, returned without assertaining 
what way we could travel from here, Capt. Smith con- 
cluded it was best for us to remain here again today, 
and that he would take two men with him and go to the 
N.E. across a ridge, and see what kind of travelling it 
would be in that direction. He started early in com- 
pany with two of the men, and returned about 12 o.c., 
and says that he can pass on in a N.E. direction very 
well as far as he went; he discovered another small river 
heading in the mountain east of the ocean, and empty- 
ing into a bay west about 2-^2 or 3 miles wide. 513 5 Inds, 

611 The same obstacles that had been encountered the day before. 

612 The Indians were probably Tolowa, whose language resembles the 
Hupa more closely than the Yurok. Powers, op. cit., 65. 

518 Smith River, which enters the ocean a few miles south of the Oregon- 
California boundary. The main highway up the coast today follows the 
course pursued by Smith. Chase, op. cit., 309 8. 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 259 

in camp today with strawberrys for sale; the day clear 
and warm. 

FRIDAY, JUNE aoTH, 1828. Capt. Smith started ear- 
ly with one man to blaze the road and left me to bring 
on the compy. I was ready about 10 o.c. A.M., being 
detained collecting horses that was missing, and started 
and travelled along and Ind. trail, about 2 m. east, 
thence i mile N.E., on the blazed road, forded the 
river that Capt. Smith discovered yesterday, which 
was nearly swimming and from 60 to 70 yards wide, 
and enc. on the east side, in a bottom pararie that con- 
tained about 15 or 20 acres of good grass and clover. 514 
About 20 Inds. came to camp in their canoes, and 
brought lamprey eels for sale; the men bought a num- 
ber from them for beeds. Several of us went hunting, 
and I killed a fine black tail buck, that was fat. Mari- 
chall killed a small deer. 

SATURDAY, JUNE 2isx, 1828. All hands up early 
and preparing for start. We was under way about 8 
o.c. A.M., directing our course up a steep brushy point 
of mountain, about i l /2 m. E, and struck and open 
grassy ridge, or rather a small divide, and kept it about 
4^ miles N.E. and enc. 515 The travelling along the 
divide pretty good and most of the way clear of brush; 
some rock. I saw and elk, while moving on, and ap- 
proached it, and killed it; it happened to be a very large 
and fat buck, that would weight, I should say, nearly 
600, from appearance, as I judge from one that we 
weighed that was killed by Lapoint. Several deer 
killed by the compy. The day clear and cold. 

514 Traveling two miles east and one mile northeast, they struck Smith 
River, some distance above its mouth, fording the stream six or eight miles 
from the sea, where its course is nearl)' due south and north. 

515 An east and northeast course of six miles brought them to the ridge, 
east of the town of Smith River. 

260 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

SUNDAY, JUNE 22. We made and early start again 
this morning, directing our course N-W-, in towards 
the ocean, as the travilling over the hills E. began to 
grow very rocky and brushy, and travelled 5 m, and 
enc. in a bottom prararie on a small branch. The road, 
to-day, brushy and some what stoney. Timber, hem- 
lock and ceadar, of considerable size, and very thick 
on the ground; some trees from 10 to 15 feet in diami- 
tar. The weather still remain good. We had some 
considerable trouble driving our horses through the 

MONDAY, JUNE 23RD. All hands up early and pre- 
paring for a start; we was under way about 9 o.c. A.M., 
directing our course as yesterday N.W., and traveled 
8 m. and enc. 3 miles from camp we struck a creek 516 
20 or 30 yards wide and crossed it, thence 5 M. further, 
keeping under the mountain along the bottom and 
sometimes along the beach of the ocean. When we 
enc., the hills come within l / 2 mile of the ocean pararie, 
covered with grass and brakes. A little before we enc., 
we discovered the mule that packed the amunition to 
be missing; four men was sent immediately back in 
search of it and found it, and brought to camp just at 
night, i mule that was lame give out and was left, 
and another run off from camp, and went back on the 
trail with a saddle and halter on. A number of Inds. 
visited our camp, bringing strawberrys and commass 
for sale; the men bought all they brought, giving beeds 
in exchange. We passed a number of wigwams during 
the day. One fine doe elk killed. The day good. 

TUESDAY, JUNE 24x11. We made and early start 
again this morning, directing our course N.N.W., and 
travelled 5 miles, and struck a creek about 60 or 70 

516 Probably Windchuck Creek, almost exactly on the California-Oregon 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 261 

yards wide, and, the tide being in, we could not cross, 
and were obliged to encamp on the beach of the ocean 
for the day. 517 Sent two men back early after the mule 
that run off last night; they returned without finding 
it; and 2 more were immediately sent back in pursuit 
of it with orders to hunt all the afternoon and untill 10 
or 1 1 o.c. tomorrow in case they could not find it this 
evening. The travelling pretty good yesterday and 
today; a great many little springs breaks out along un- 
der the mountain and makes it a little mirery in some 
of there branches. Enc. close by some Ind. lodges ; they 
all had fled and left them ; no visits from them as yet at 
this camp ; 5 or six Inds. came to camp this morning, 
just before we started, and brought berries and fish for 
sale. Capt. Smith bought all they had and divided 
amongst the men. The day fair and pleasant. 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 1828. On account of the 
tide being low, we were ready for a start a little after 
sun rise; started and crossed the creek with out diffi- 
culty, it being about belly deep to our horses, and di- 
rected our course again N.W., keeping along a cross 
the points of parade near and on the beach of the 
ocean and travelled 12 m. and enc. on the N. side of a 
small branch at the mouth where it enters into the 
ocean, close by some Ind. lodges; 518 they had run off 
as yesterday and left their lodges. The 2 men that was 
sent back to hunt the mule, returned to camp a little 
after night and say the Inds sallied out from their vil- 
lage with their bows and arrows and made after them, 
yelling and screaming, and tryed to surround them; 
they retreated on horseback and swam a small creek, 

517 Starting from a point north of the boundary line, they proceeded five 
miles to Chetcoe River, Curry County, Oregon, where they camped. 

518 Crossing the Chetcoe at low tide, they traveled twelve miles, encamp- 
ing at the mouth of Thoglas Creek. The Indians encountered were Chetcos. 

262 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

and the Inds. gave up the chase. When our horses was 
drove in this morning, we found 3 of them badly 
wounded with arrows, but could see no Inds. untill we 
started; we then discovered a canoe loaded with them 
some distance up the creek close by a thicket and did 
not pursue them, knowing it was in vain. One deer 
killed, and several more wounded, and one elk wound- 
ed to-day while travilling. Deer and elk quite plenty. 
2 horses left to-day that give out and could not travel. 
The travelling tolerable when compared to former 
days when in the mou. among the brush; some steep 
ravines to cross, but not very mirery. The day clear 
cold and windy for the season. 

THURSDAY, JUNE 26TH, 1828. We made and early 
start again this morning, stearing, as yesterday, N.N.W. 
across several points of brushy and steep mou. and 
travelled 8 m. on a straight line, but to get to the place 
of enc., about 12 miles, and struck a creek about 30 
yards wide at the entrance into the ocean, and, it being 
high water, we enc. for the day. 519 2 deer killed to- 
day. When we come to count our horses, we found 
one very valuable one missing that was killed, I sup- 
pose, by the Inds. on the 24 inst, when they wounded 
the other 3. We followed and Ind. Trail from the 
time we started in the morning untill we enc. 

FRIDAY, JUNE 27TH. All hands up early and under 
way a little after sun rise, and started along the beach 
of the ocean, crossed the creek at the mouth, where it 
was nearly belly deep to our horses, and purs[u]ed our 
route along the beach, it bearing N.N.W., and trav- 
elled about 7 miles and struck a river about 100 yards 
wide at the mouth and very deep, that makes a consid- 
erable bay and enc., and commenced getting timber for 

519 They probably camped on the southern bank of Pistol River. 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 263 

rafts. 520 A number of Ind. lodges on both sides of the 
river; they had run off, as usual, and left their lodges 
and large baskets; we tore down one lodge to get the 
puncheons to make rafts, as timber was scarce along the 
beach. The weather clear and windy. The Inds. that 
run off raised smokes on the north side of the bay, I 
suppose, for signals to those that were absent, or some 
other villages, to let them know that we were close at 
hand. All the Inds. for several days past runs off and 
do not come to us any more. 521 

SATURDAY, JUNE zSTH, 1828. All hands up early, 
some fixing the rafts for crossing the river and others 
sent after the horses. We had all our goods crossed 
by 9 o.c. A.M., and then proceeded to drive in the 
horses; there was 12 drowned in crossing, and I know 
not the reason without it was driving them in too much 
crowded one upon another. We have lossed 23 horses 
and mules within 3 days past. After crossing the river, 
we packed up and started along the sea shore, a 
N.N.W. course, and travelled about 6 miles and enc., 525 
sometimes on the Beach and sometimes along the points 
of Pararie Hills that keeps in close to the Ocean; the 
country back looks broken, and thickety, timbered with 
low scrubby pines and ceadars, the pararie hills cov- 
ered with good grass and blue clover; the country has 
been similar as respects timber and soil for several days 
past, also grass and herbage. One deer killed to-day. 

520 Presumably crossing Pistol River, they proceeded along the beach until 
they struck Rogue River, where they encamped. The distance is under- 

521 The prevailing Indian stock along the coast is Athapascan. The 
Taltushtuntude lived about the mouth of Rogue River, the Mishikhwutme- 
tunne farther north, near the mouth of the Coquille. 

622 Crossing Rogue River, they traveled six miles, camping near Ophir. 
Compare United States Geological Survey, Port Orford Quadrangle (topo- 
graphic sheet). 

264 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

SUNDAY, JUNE 291*1, 1828. We made and early 
start again this morning, stealing as yesterday N.N.W. 
along the beach and hills, and travelled 5 M. and enc. 688 
on account of the water being high, which prevented us 
from getting along the shore, or we should have trav- 
elled a great deal further, as the point of the mou. was 
too ruff that come into the beach to get along. The 
travelling yesterday and to-day much alike. I killed 
one deer after we enc. The day clear and warm. 

MONDAY, JUNE 30TH, 1828. We was up and under 
way in good season, directing our course N.N.W. along 
the beach i mile, Then took a steep point of mountain, 
keeping the same course, and travelled over it and 
along the beach 6 miles more, and encamped. 524 Lossed 
one mule last night, that fell in a pitt that was made by 
Inds. for the purpose of catching elk, and smothered 
to death ; one other fell down a point of mou. today and 
got killed by the fall. The day clear and pleasant. 

TUESDAY, JULY IST, 1828. All hands up early and 
under way, stearing as yesterday N. along the beach of 
the ocean and across the points of small hills and trav- 
elled 12 miles and enc. 525 The day clear and warm; 
one Ind. in camp early this morning. The country for 
several days past well calculated for raising stock, both 
cattle and hogs, as it abounds in good grass and small 
lakes a little off from the beach where there is good 
roots grows for hogs. One horse killed again to-day 
by falling. 

WEDNESDAY, JULY 2ND, 1828. We made a pretty 
early start again this morning, stearing N., and trav- 

528 Near the mouth of Mussel Creek. 

824 A little over a mile brought them to Humbug Mountain, which they 
crossed. Six miles brought them to the vicinity of Port Orford. 

525 Twelve miles along the beach brought them to the vicinity of Floras 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 265 

elled 12 miles, and enc. 526 No accident has happened 
in regard to horses to-day. We travelled pretty much 
along the beach and over small sand hills; the timber, 
small pine; the grass not so plenty nor so good as it has 
been some days past. The country, for 3 days past, 
appears to leave the effects of earth quakes at some pe- 
riod past, as it is quite cut to pieces in places and very 
broken, although it affords such and abundance of good 
grass and clover. The weather still good. As the 
most of the mens times expired this evening, Capt. 
Smith called all hands and give them up there articles, 
and engaged the following men to go on with him, at 
one dollar per day, untill he reaches the place of des- 
posit, viz: 

John Gaiter Abraham Laplant 

Arthur Black Charles Swift 

John Hanna Thos. Daws 

Emanuel Lazarus Tousaint Marishall 

Daws time to commence when he gets well enough for 

Also Peter Ranne and Joseph Palmer, at the above 
named price, one dollar per day, and Martin McCoy, 
200 dollars, from the time he left the Spanish country, 
untill he reaches the deposit. 

THURSDAY, JULY 3RD, 1828. We made a pretty ear- 
ly start, stearing N. along the pine flatts close by the 
beach of the ocean, and travelled 2 m., and struck a 
river about 2 hundred yards wide, and crossed it in and 
Ind. canoe. Capt. Smith, being a head, saw the Inds. 
in the canoe, and they tryed to get off but he pursued 
them so closely that they run and left it. They tryed 
to split the canoe to pieces with thir poles, but he 

526 Twelve miles took them to the mouth of Johnson Creek, Coos County, 
Oregon. Compare United States Geological Survey, Coos Bay Quadrangle 
(topographic sheet). 

266 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

screamed at them, and they fled, and left it, which saved 
us of a great deal of hard labour making rafts. After 
crossing our goods, we drove in our horses, and they all 
swam over, but one; he drowned pretty near the shore. 
We packed up and started again, after crossing along 
the beach N., and travelled 5 miles more, and en- 
camped. 5 " Saw some Inds. on a point close by the 
ocean; Marishall caught a boy about 10 years old and 
brought him to camp. I give him some beads and 
dryed meat; he appears well and satisfied, and makes 
signs that the Inds. have all fled in their canoes and 
left him. 528 I killed one deer to-day. The country 
similar to yesterday; the day warm and pleasant. 

FRIDAY, JULY 4TH. We made a start early, stearing 
N.N.W. 9 m., and enc. The travelling pretty bad, as 
we were obliged to cross the low hills, as they came in 
close to the beach, and the beach being so bad that we 
could not get along, thicketty and timbered, and some 
very bad ravenes to cross. We enc. on a long point, 
where there was but little grass for the horses. 529 Good 
deal of elk signs, and several hunters out but killed 
nothing, the weather still good. 

SATURDAY, JULY 5, 1828. We travelled \y 2 miles 
to-day N, and, finding good grass, enc. as our horses 
was pretty tired. 530 Two Inds., who speak Chinook, 531 

82T After traveling two miles, they reached and crossed the Coquille. 
Continuing along the beach northward, they camped not far south of Whiskey 

528 The Indian boy was given the name, Marion, and was among those 
who perished at the Umpqua. "Casualty List," Superintendent of Indian 
Affairs, Letter Book, 299-300, Kansas Historical Society, Ms. 

629 Nine miles north northwest carried them across the steep and broken 
ravines known as the Seven Devils. They camped south of Cape Arago. 

880 A mile and a half north brought them to the vicinity of Big Creek. 

881 The Chinook jargon. This is the first instance of the use, so far 
south, of what later became the lingua franca of the entire Pacific coast from 
California to Alaska. It was first noticed about 1810, and at that time con- 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 267 

came to our camp ; they tell us we are ten days travell 
from Catapos on the wel Hamett, which is pleasing 
news to us. 532 Plenty of elk sign, and several hunters 
out, but killed nothing. 

SUNDAY, JULY 6TH. N. 2 miles to-day and enc., the 
travelling very bad, mirery and brushy; several horses 
snagged very bad passing over fallen hemlock; after 
encamping, two elk killed. 533 

MONDAY, JULY yxn, 1828. We concluded to stay 
here to-day for the purpose of resting our horses and 
getting meat and clearing a road to the mouth of a large 
river that is in sight, about 2 miles distant that we can- 
not get too without. 534 About 100 Inds. in camp, with 
fish and mussels for sale; Capt. Smith bought a sea 
otter skin from the chief; one of them have a fuzill, all 
have knives and tommahawks. One a blanket cappon, 
and a number have pieces of cloth. The weather for 
several days past good. 

TUESDAY, JULY STH, 1828. We made and early 
start, directing our course N. along the beach and low 
hills; the travelling very bad on account of ravenes, 
fallen timber, and brush. We made 2 miles and struck 
the river and enc. The river at the mouth is about i 
m. wide, the Inds. very numerous, they call themselves 
the Ka Koosh. 535 They commenced trading shell and 

sisted only of Indian words, but later it incorporated English, French, and, 
perhaps, Russian roots. In 1841, the number of words in the jargon was 
estimated at two hundred fifty. 

532 The Kalapooian tribes of the Willamette and upper Umpqua com- 
prise a distinct linguistic group. They seem to have suffered severely from an 
epidemic about four years before Smith's visit. They were usually at war 
with the Umpqua Indians, who dwelt farther down the river of that name. 

633 They crossed Big Creek, finding their way brushy and miry. 

834 They cleared a road east to the South Slough, which, not unnaturally, 
was mistaken for a river of some size. 

BBS They reached the mouth of South Slough. The Indians are probably 
the Coos or Kusan tribe, as the name suggests, a very small group now 

268 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

scale fish, rasberrys, strawberrys, and 2 other kinds of 
bury that I am unacquainted with, also some fur skins. 
In the evening, we found they had been shooting arrows 
into 8 of our horses and mules; 3 mules and one horse 
died shortly after they were shot. The Inds. all left 
camp, but the 2 that acts as interpreters; they tell us 
that one Ind. got mad on account of a trade he made 
and killed the mules and horses. The weather still 
good. One horse left today that was ma[i]m[ed]. 

WEDNESDAY, JULY 9TH. We made and early start 
again this morning, and crossed the ist fork of the 
river, which is 400 or 500 yards wide, and got all our 
things safe across about 9 o.c. A.M., then packed up 
and started along the beach along the river N., and 
travelled about 2 miles, and struck another river and 
enc. 53< We crossed in Ind. canoes ; a great many Inds. 
live along the river bank; there houses built after the 
fashion of a shed. 537 A great many Inds. in camp with 
fish and berris for sale; the men bought them as fast as 
they brought them. We talked with the chiefs about 
those Inds. shooting our horses, but could get but little 
satisfaction as they say that they were not accessary to 
it, and we, finding them so numerous and the travelling 
being so bad, we thought it advisable to let it pass at 
present without notice. We bought a number of beav- 
er, land, and sea otter skins from them in the course of 
the day. 

practically extinct It is possible, however, that Rogers refers to the Kuitsch, 
a Yakonan tribe, inhabiting the lower Umpqua and the coast. Much con- 
fusion has arisen through the similarity of names. 

68 The words "ist fork of the," are crossed out in the Ms. Having 
crossed South Slough, they turned north along the east side of Coos Bay 
but, after proceeding more than two miles, they struck Coos River itself at 
the point where it flows west. 

837 I.e., of boards, as distinct from the bark hives of the tribes farther 

Second Journal of Harrison G. Rogers 269 

THURSDAY, JULY IOTH, 1828. We commenced 
crossing the river early, as we had engaged canoes last 
night; we drove in our horses and they swam across; 
they had to swim about 600 yards. Our goods was all 
crossed about 9 o.c. A.M. and 2 horses that was wound- 
ed, and one was much, remained, that Capt. Smith and 
5 men stay to cross; the 2 horses dyed of there wounds, 
and Capt. Smith swam the mule along side of the canoe. 
He was some what of opinion the Inds. had a mind to 
attact him from there behaviour, and he crossed over 
where the swells was running pretty high, and, there 
being good grass, we enc. for the day; the Inds. pretty 

The river we crossed to-day unites with the one we 
crossed yesterday and makes and extensive bay that 
runs back into the hills; it runs N and S, or rather 
heads N.E. and enters the ocean S.W., at the entrance 
into the ocean its about i l /2 miles wide. 538 

FRIDAY, JULY 11, 1828. All hands up early and un- 
der way, had and Ind. who speaks Chinook along as a 
guide. Our course was N. along the beach of the 
ocean, 15 miles, and struck [another] river that is about 
300 yards wide at the mouth and enc., as it was not 
fordable. We crossed a small creek, 3 yards wide, 10 
miles from camp. 539 To-day we enc. where there was 
some Inds. living; a number of them speak Chinook; 
70 or 80 in camp ; they bring us fish and berris and ap- 
pear friendly; we buy those articles from them at a 

538 They crossed Coos River, perhaps above Empire, striking the long 
sandspit on the west side of the bay. The description of the bay as running 
north and south makes it clear that they did not explore the country to the 
east of South Slough, where the bay takes a quite different trend, the gen- 
eral form being that of an inverted Y. 

539 Following the beach, they crossed Eel Creek reaching the Umpqua 
River in Douglas County, Oregon. 

270 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

pretty dear rate. Those Inds call themselves the Omp 
quch. 540 

The day windy and cold. Several of the men worn 

Peter Ranne has been sick for 6 weeks, with a swell- 
ing in his legs. The country about l / 2 mile back from 
the ocean sand hills covered with small pine and brush, 
the sand beach, quit 540 * 

SATURDAY, JULY laTH. We commenced crossing 
the river early and had our goods and horses over by 8 
o.c., then packed up and started a N.E. course up the 
river and travelled 3 M. and enc. 541 Had several Inds. 
along; one of the Ind. stole and ax and we were obliged 
to seize him for the purpose of tying him before we 
could scare him to make him give it up. Capt. Smith 
and one of them caught him and put a cord round his 
neck, and the rest of us stood with our guns ready in 
case they made any resistance, there was about 50 Inds. 
present but did not pretend to resist tying the other. 542 
The river at this place is about 300 yards wide and 
make a large bay that extends 4 or 5 miles up in the 
pine hills. The country similar to yesterday. We 
traded v some land and sea otter and beaver fur in the 
course of the day. Those Inds. bring Pacific rasberrys 
and other berries. 543 

540 The Umpquas, an Athapascan tribe, living along the lower stretches 
of the Umpqua River. They number at the present time less than one 

840a The manuscript breaks off abruptly at this point. 

841 They crossed the Umpqua probably above the mouth of Smith River. 
The Parker map (q.v.) to which Smith contributed, shows him ignorant of 
the latter stream. They proceeded in an easterly direction toward Win- 
chester Bay. 

842 The story of the stolen axe and its return after binding the Indian, 
who was, as it happened, the chief, is confirmed by McLaughlin's account, 
who had it from Arthur Black, one of the survivors of the massacre. See 
Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History (Portland, 1905), vol. i, 216. 

848 /.*., the large variety noted by Rogers, May 31. 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 271 

SUNDAY, JULY ISTH, 1828. We made a pretty good 
start this morning, directing our course along the bay, 
east and travelled 4 miles and enc. 544 50 or 60 Inds in 
camp again today (we traded 15 or 20 beaver skins 
from them, some elk meat and tallow, also some lam- 
prey eels). The traveling quit mirery in places; we 
got a number of our pack horses mired, and had to 
bridge several places. A considerable thunder shower 
this morning, and rain at intervals through the day. 
Those Inds. tell us after we get up the river 15 or 20 
miles we will have good travelling to the Wei Ham- 
mett or Multinomah, where the Callipoo Inds. 545 live. 

Harrison G. Rogers' Book continued from the lOth of 

May, 1828. Jedediah S. Smith Capt. of 

the Compy. 

MAY 23RD. One thousand eight hundred and twenty 

I promise and oblige myself to pay unto John D. 
Daggett, one hundred pounds, good and lawful money 
of the United States, for value reed' of him, as witness 
my hand this 23rd day of May, one thousand eight hun- 
dred and twenty eight. 

This book commences xoth May, 1828. 

Up to this point the general attitude of the Indians 
toward the little party had been friendly. They had 
furnished them food in exchange for beads and baubles. 
To be sure, many of the savages encountered had been 
overcome with fear at first sight of the whites and had 
fled precipitously, only to be coaxed back with difficul- 
ty. Smith had made every effort to keep on peaceful 

544 They traveled east along the north bank of the Umpqua River. 

545 The Indians directed them up the Umpqua to Elk Creek and thence 
over a low divide to the Coast fork of the Willamette, near Drain, Oregon. 

272 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

terms with them. The severe reprimand administered 
to the negro, Ransa, June fourth, for having given a 
false alarm, and Thomas Virgin's manifest regret at 
being under the necessity of shooting an Indian a fort- 
night before, together with the efforts made on that 
occasion to explain to the savages that the whites had 
not been the aggressors, point clearly to Smith's earnest 
desire for peace with them all. By the thirteenth of 
July, the worst of their journey seemed over. Fifteen 
or twenty miles of easy traveling would bring them to 
the Willamette Valley, whence lay an open road to the 
Columbia. The Umpqua Indians, moreover, seemed 
singularly friendly. They brought fish and beaver 
skins to trade. Two days earlier, it is true, one of them 
had stolen an axe, which he gave up only after Smith 
had tied a rope round his neck. The following day the 
incident seemed to be forgotten for fifty or sixty In- 
dians came into camp to trade. 

That night, the thirteenth, their attitude apparently 
changed, or else, from the first, Smith, despite his ex- 
perience with the Indian character, had been deceived 
by their seeming friendliness. 548 With their usual pre- 
cautions, the men had pitched camp Sunday evening 
near the river. Monday morning, leaving the rest of 
the party still in camp, Smith after breakfast, set out 
on foot to find the road for the day, just as he had done 
many times before. The party had already crossed the 
Umpqua but had found the traveling on the north 
side of the stream unusually difficult chiefly on account 

546 Gustavus Hines states that Smith and his party were thrown off their 
guard by the apparent good-will of the Indians. Hines, Gustavus. Oregon 
(Buffalo, 1851), no. Hines had his information directly or indirectly 
from McLaughlin, who, in turn, had it from Smith himself. Fremont com- 
ments on the treacherous disposition of the Indians south of the Columbia. 
He writes, "I was not unmindful of the disasters which Smith and other 
travellers had met in this country." - Fremont, op. cit., 205. 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 273 

of the heavy rains, that had begun with a thunder storm 
Sunday morning and had kept up off and on all that 
day, but partly, too, because of the naturally soggy 
marshy ground along the river bottoms. Perhaps also 
it was because they had only covered four miles the day 
before that Smith resolved to find a better road before 
the whole company broke camp. 547 

Returning from his reconnaissance, he suddenly met 
John Turner, running frantically toward him through 
the underbrush. Breathless, he related how, soon after 
Smith's departure, the entire band of Indians, at the 
instigation of the chief who had stolen the axe a couple 
of days before, rushed on the encampment. 548 With 
the advantage of numbers and surprise, the savages had 
made short work of the little company, slaying them all 
save him. He may have reported the escape of Arthur 
Black, but it is unlikely if, in his haste to run from 
such a scene of wholesale slaughter, he had realized 
that any but himself had survived. Black, as it hap- 
pened, had just finished cleaning and loading his rifle, 
when the attack came. Three Indians had leaped on 
him. He shook them off and, seeing all his comrades 
struggling on the ground and the Indians stabbing 
them, had fired into the crowd and rushed to the woods 
with several of them in hot pursuit. Fortunately he 

54T "On the i4th July, Mr. Smith had left the encampment in order to 
search out a road, the country being very swampy in the lowlands and woody 
in the mountains." -.4 Brief Sketch of Accidents, Misfortunes, etc., Kansas 
Historical Society Mss. The McLaughlin narrative states that Smith started 
with two men and an Indian in a canoe. Clarke [Pioneer Days of Oregon 
History, vol. i, 216] states that with one man he was searching for a ford. 
Hines [Oregon, no] says that he proceeded up the river on foot with one 
man. Warner [op. cit., vol. vii, 182] says that with one man he was search- 
ing for a ford. Victor [River of the West, 34] states that he was on a raft 
at the time and had with him "a little Englishman and one Indian." Smith's 
account can alone be accepted as accurate. 

548 The McLaughlin narrative, in Clarke, op. cit., vol. i, 216. 

274 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

succeeded in eluding them. 549 Turner's escape had 
been due to his enormous size and strength. He had 
been doing duty as camp cook that morning and, when 
the Indians rushed on him, seized a huge firebrand 
with which he laid about him valiantly till he had 
knocked down if not actually killed four of them. See- 
ing an opportunity to escape, he, too, had run to the 
woods, where he met Smith as the latter was returning 
to camp. 

The two, deciding to make no effort to recover the 
property, set out at once up the Umpqua in the direc- 
tion they would naturally have pursued. After severe 
hardships, finally, in the month of August they reached 
the shelter of Fort Vancouver. 550 What was their sur- 
prise to find here Arthur Black, who had arrived only 
the night before. His experiences had been equally 
distressing. Aware that safety lay in reaching the 
Hudson's Bay Company's establishment, he had turned 
north, just as Smith and Turner had done; except that 
he had kept closer to the coast. Lack of shelter and food, 
save a few berries, rendered him so helpless in the course 
of a week or so, that he voluntarily gave himself up to 
the Killimour [Tillamook] Indians. 551 They had treat- 
ed him with humanity, fed and sheltered him, and con- 
ducted him to Fort Vancouver. 

549 Hines, G. Oregon, no, in. The McLaughlin narrative attributes the 
attack to the fact that Smith's men during his absence had admitted the 
squaws to their camp. This seems improbable. Clarke, op. '/., vol. i, 216. 

550 1 have followed Hines at this point. McLaughlin states that Smith 
came in with two companions, probably a mistake, as only three escaped 
altogether, Smith, Black, and Turner. This is the number given in Victor, 
River of the West, 35. Per contra, however, see Chittenden, American Fur 
Trade, vol. i, 286. Warner ["Reminiscences"] states that Smith escaped 
with one companion. Southern California Historical Society, Publications, 
vol. vii, 182. 

851 A tribe of Salish Indians, inhabiting Tillamook Bay, northwestern 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 275 

Here, McLaughlin foreseeing the significance of the 
step he was taking, rewarded the savages liberally and 
expressed the hope that in future they would continue 
to render assistance to the whites when occasion should 
arise. At the same time, swift Indian couriers bearing 
gifts of tobaccq were despatched to the Willamette 
tribes, who were instructed to instigate a search for 
Smith and his companions and offer a reward for their 
recovery and safe conduct to the fort. McLaughlin 
also prepared to equip and send out an armed force of 
fifty men to punish the murderers. Just before the lat- 
ter were to depart, however, Smith and Turner ar- 
rived. 862 

John McLaughlin, with his characteristic humanity, 
took further steps to avenge the disaster. The armed 
expedition under command of Thomas McKay was de- 
spatched forthwith to the Umpqua country. It is pos- 
sible that Smith himself accompanied this expedition. 553 
McKay was instructed to "invite the Indians to bring 
their furs to trade, just as if nothing had happened, 
count the furs, but, as the American trappers mark all 
their skins, keep these all separate, give them to Mr. 
Smith, and not pay the Indians for them, telling them 
they belonged to him; that they got them by murdering 
Smith's people." The savages, as was to be expected, 
denied having massacred Smith's party but admitted 

852 McLaughlin's narrative in Clarke, op. cit., vol. 5, 216 ff. 

553 This seems to be implied in the order issued by McLaughlin to McKay, 
and in the statement made afterwards by Smith, Jackson, and Sublette 
to John Eaton, Secretary of War, St. Louis, October 29, 1830, "It is an act 
of justice to say also that the treatment received by Mr. Smith at Fort 
Vancouver was kind and hospitable, that personally, he owes thanks to 
Governor Simpson and to the gentlemen of the H. B. Company for the hos- 
pitable entertainment which he received from them, and for the efficient 
and successful aid which they gave him in recovering from the Umpquah 
Indians a quantity of furs." - United States Senate, Executive Documents, 
2ist congress, ad session, vol. i, no. 39, p. 23. 

276 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

that they had purchased his furs from the murderers. 
McKay, insisting that they had stolen goods in their 
possession, refused to pay for the furs, advising them 
to seek compensation from the murderers, which, says 
McLaughlin, they proceeded to do with the result that 
"a war was kindled among them, and the murderers 
were punished more severely than we could have done, 
and which Mr. Smith himself admitted to be much 
preferable to going to war on them, as we could not dis- 
tinguish the innocent from the guilty, who, if they 
chose, might fly to the mountains where we could not 
find them." 554 Not only were most of the furs recov- 
ered, but a number of horses and some of the personal 
baggage of the party, including the Harrison G. Rogers 
journals. 555 The kindness of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, particularly of Dr. McLaughlin, did not stop 
with the recovery of Smith's property for which a rea- 
sonable charge only was made. 556 The company pur- 
chased his furs for about twenty thousand dollars, giv- 
ing him a draft on London in payment. 557 

Smith and Arthur Black remained at Fort Vancou- 

554 McLaughlin's narrative in Clarke, op. cit., vol. i, 217. According to 
Hines, they reached the actual site of the massacre and interred the mangled 
bodies of the men. See Hines, Oregon, in. 

558 Smith, Jackson, and Sublette to John Eaton, in United States Senate. 
op. cit. Not all the property was recovered. The following May, Ogden 
discovered among a tribe of Indians east of Pitt River, arms and ammuni- 
tion which he suspected was the property of Smith's men. See Ogden, 
"Journal," entry of May 28, 1829, Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, 
vol. xi, 395. 

see McLaughlin charged him only for the men's time at the rate of sixty 
dollars a year and four dollars apiece for such horses as were lost on the 
trip. Compare Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 286. Bancroft, H. 
H. History of the Northwest Coast, vol. ii, 452. Bancroft cites Robert 
Newell in the Democratic Herald, October 3, 1866. Hines [op. cit., in] 
says the furs were recovered gratuitously. Compare Victor, op. cit., 35. 

557 McLaughlin says three thousand two hundred dollars [probably in- 
tended for thirty-two thousand dollars. Clarke, op. cit., vol. i, 217. Chitten- 
den says twenty thousand dollars. Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. i, 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 277 

ver during the fall and winter, virtually as guests of the 
Hudson's Bay Company. The valorous John Turner, 
however, abandoned Smith's service here, but only to 
start back again into the very country from which he 
had so narrowly escaped. He joined a trapping ex- 
pedition conducted by Alexander McLeod, which now 
set out for the country south to the forty-second parallel, 
in which, by the treaty of joint occupancy, the British 
had equal hunting rights with the Americans. 558 On 
the twelfth of March, 1829, Smith and Arthur Black 
set out from Fort Vancouver, traveling up the Colum- 
bia to the Kettle Falls, thence to Fort Caldwell and 
Flathead House, and on to the rendezvous of his com- 
pany. 559 

During Smith's prolonged absence, the other part- 
ners had maintained a hundred men in the field but 
divided into groups, which had operated on the usual 
streams of the Interior Basin and in adjoining territory. 
In the fall of 1826 and spring of 1827, they had pushed 
north to the southern tributaries of the Columbia, but, 
by keeping well to the east, had avoided the Hudson's 
Bay Company's Snake expedition of that year, com- 
manded by Peter Skene Ogden. 560 During the spring 

558 Warner, J. J. "Reminiscences," in Southern California Historical So- 
ciety. Publications, vol. vii, 183 ff. Bancroft, H. H. History of California, 
vol. iii, 161-162. Turner was in California in 1835, returning to Oregon that 
year, after meeting with a narrow escape on Rogue River. He was a mem- 
ber of the Willamette Cattle Company, organized by Ewing Young, in 1837, 
and with that company came overland again from California to Oregon. 
He was with the so-called second relief party sent out from Sutler's fort, in 
March, 1847, to assist the Donner party. Bancroft, op. cit., vol. v, 540; 
Lang, H. O. History of the Willamette Valley (Portland, 1885), 226, 230; 
Houghton, E. P. D. The Donner Party and its Tragic Fate (Chicago, 1911), 

559 Smith, Jackson, and Sublette to John Eaton, United States Senate, 
op. cit.; A Brief Sketch of Accidents, Misfortunes, etc., Kansas Historical 
Society Mss. 

560 There is no mention of Americans in the "Ogden Journal for 1826- 
1827," Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 204 ff. 

278 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

hunt, it is highly probable that one detachment pene- 
trated as far as the Yellowstone National Park, and that 
one of the party wrote the graphic description of that 
region which appeared in Niles Register of October 6, 
1827. This description, having apparently escaped the 
notice of the historian of the Park, deserves to be quot- 
ed in full. 561 

SWEET LAKE, July 8, 1827. 

Shortly after writing to you last, I took my departure for the 
Black Feet country much against my will, but I could not make 
a party for any other route. We took a northerly direction 
about fifty miles, where we crossed Snake River, or the South 
fork of Columbia, at the forks of Henry's and Lewis's; at this 
place we were daily harrassed by the Black Feet: from thence 
we went up Henry's or north fork, which bears north of east 
thirty miles, and crossed a large rugged mountain which sep- 
arated the two forks; from thence, east up the other branch to 
its source, which heads on the top of the great chain of Rocky 
Mountains which separates the waters of the Atlantic from those 
of the Pacific ; at or near this place heads the Suchkadee or Cal- 
ifornia, sticking [Stinking?] fork, Yellow Stone, south fork of 
Masiori (sic), and Henry's fork; all those head at one angular 
point ; that of the Yellow Stone has a large freshwater lake near 
its head at the very top of the mountains, which is about 100 by 
40 miles in diameter, and as clear as crystal. On the south bor- 
der of this lake is a number of hot and boiling springs, some of 
water and others of most beautiful fine clay, resembling a mush 
pot, and throwing particles to the immense height of from 20 to 
30 feet. The clay is of a white, and of a pink color, and the 
water appears fathomless, as it appears to be entirely hollow 
underneath. There is also a number of places where pure sul- 
phur is sent forth in abundance. One of our men visited one 
of these whilst taking his recreation, there, at an instant, the 

861 Chittenden says that the description of the Park written by W. A. 
Ferris [Life in the Rocky Mountains] published first in the Western Literary 
Messenger (Buffalo), 1841-1842 and reprinted in the Wasp (Nauroo, Illi- 
nois), August 13, 1842, "forms the most interesting and authentic reference to 
the geyser regions published prior to 1870." Chittenden, H. M. Yellowstone 
National Park (Cincinnati, 1915), 40. This description from Niles Register, 
however, antedates Ferris's account by fifteen years. 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 279 

earth began a tremendous trembling, and he with difficulty made 
his escape, when an explosion took place, resembling that of 
thunder. During our stay in that quarter I heard it every day. 
From this place by a circuitous route to the north west we re- 

Two others and myself pushed on in advance for the purpose 
of accumulating a few more beaver, and in the act of passing 
through a narrow confine in the mountain, we were met plump 
in the face by a large party of Black Feet Indians, who, not 
knowing our number, fled into the mountains in confusion; we 
retired to a small grove of willows; here we made every prep- 
aration for battle, after which, finding our enemy as much 
alarmed as ourselves, we mounted our horses, which we hastily 
loaded, and took the back retreat. We here put whips to our 
horses and they pursued us in close quarters until we reached 
the plains, where we left them behind. On this trip, one man 
was closely fired on by a party of Black Feet; several others 
were closely pursued. 

On this trip I lost one horse by accident, and the last spring 
two by the Utaws, who killed three for the purpose of eating 
them, one of which was a favorite buffaloe horse. This loss 
cannot be computed at less than four hundred and fifty dollars. 
A few days previous to my arrival at this place, a party of about 
1 2O Black Feet approached the camp and killed a Snake Indian 
and his squaw. The alarm was immediately given and the 
Snakes, Utaws, and whites sallied forth for battle, the enemy 
fled to the mountain to a small concavity thickly grown with 
small timber surrounded by open ground. In this engagement, 
the squaws were busily engaged in throwing up batteries and 
dragging off the dead. There were only six whites engaged in 
this battle, who immediately advanced within pistol shot, and 
you may be assured that almost every shot counted one. The 
loss of the Snakes was three killed, one wounded, and two nar- 
rowly made their escape; that of the Utaws was none, though 
they gained great applause for their bravery. The loss of the 
enemy is not known ; six were found dead on the ground ; a great 
number besides were carried off on horses. To-morrow I de- 
part for the west. 56 * 

562 Smith, Jackson, and Sublette were probably the only Americans en- 
gaged in the country fifty miles south of Snake River as early as the year, 

280 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

By July, the scattered detachments reunited for ren- 
dezvous at Bear Lake where Smith joined them on his 
return from his first California expedition. 

With the conclusion of rendezvous and the departure 
of Smith the second time to California, the fall hunt 
began, lasting this year well into the winter. In gen- 
eral, the men confined their operations to Weiser River, 
Reed's River, Payette River, Riviere aux Malades, and 
the Portneuf, tributaries of the Snake, but without great 
success, so thoroughly had all this area been trapped 
by English and Americans since first the Astorians 
toiled through it. 568 One detachment fell in with Og- 
den's men early in tfie season, remained with them two 
months, and then set out, November 30, for Great Salt 
Lake. 664 On Christmas eve, a second detachment com- 
manded by the veteran Samuel Tullock, which was also 
trapping the Snake country, joined the Britishers in 
camp. They stayed four months simply because they 
could not push through to their headquarters. They 
were prevented partly because the winter of 1827-1828 
was unusually severe but largely because of Ogden's 
influence with the Indians. The latter refused to sell 
Tullock snow-shoes though he offered as high as twen- 
ty-five dollars for a single pair. Tullock at length de- 
termined to make the attempt without snow shoes but 
failed. Then he tried to engage an Indian to carry 
letters through to the post at Great Salt Lake. Ogden 

Jan. 20, 1828, Tullock, the American, who failed to get thro' 

1827. They also traded with the Blackfeet this season, and one of their 
parties, commanded by Robert Campbell, penetrated this region the follow- 
ing year. Letter of W. H. Ashley to T. H. Benton, St. Louis, January 20, 
1829, in United States Senate, Ett*ttvv Documents, aoth congress, ad session, 
vol. i, no. 67. 

588 Ogden, P. S. "Journal, 1827-1828," Oregon Historical Society, Quar- 
terly, vol. xi, 362 ff. 

564 Idem, vol. xi, 365. 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 281 

the snow to Salt Lake, tried to engage an Indian to carry letters 
to the American depot at Salt Lake. This I cannot prevent. 
It is impossible for me to bribe so many Indians with my party. 
I have succeeded in preventing them from providing snow shoes. 

And three days later, 

The American is now very low spirited. He cannot hire a man 
to go to his cache nor snow shoes, nor does he suspect that I 
prevented. This day he offered 8 beaver and 50 dollars for a 
pair and a prime horse to any one who would carry a letter to 
the American camp. In this he also failed. 

Ogden, however, overestimated his own subtlety. 
Tullock did, as a matter of fact, suspect his influence 
with the Indians, though he was probably shrewd 
enough not to let his suspicions become known to him. 
When he met William Sublette, next spring, he told 
him of the difficulties he had encountered and stated 
clearly his suspicions of Ogden. These suspicions Sub- 
lette, in turn, passed on to Ashley, on his return to the 
States in the winter of 1828-1829, who incorporated 
them in a letter to Thomas Hart Benton. In this way 
they found permanent record in a public document. 56 ' 

Finally, however, Tullock and his companions, hav- 
ing given up all hope of purchasing snow shoes set out 
to construct them for themselves, "wh.," says Ogden, 
"they ought to have done 2 wks. ago." Their achieve- 
ments were pathetic and certain to give them trouble. 506 
Tullock, however, with one companion set out on the 
twenty-eighth of January for Great Salt Lake. Neith- 
er of them had had any experience with snow shoes. 
Trouble began at the start. In crossing Snake River, 
the ice gave way; Tullock's companion was swept into 
the current and only saved himself by a heroic struggle. 
Undaunted, they struggled on through deep snows and 
ice-locked valleys, making but slow progress, until they 

565 United States Senate, op. cit. 

see Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 372. 

282 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

finally reached the headwaters of the Portneuf, where, 
despairing of continuing further, they turned about and 
made their way back to Ogden's camp, arriving on the 
fourth of February. After resting a week, they set out 
again, and had not gone far when they met Robert 
Campbell, coming up from Great Salt Lake. Camp- 
bell was nearly destitute, and, accordingly, they turned 
about again, reaching Ogden's quarters on the sixteenth. 
Meantime another detachment had been feeling the 
severity of this winter on Bear River, perhaps at the 
old wintering grounds in Cache Valley. 561 

After a week with the English, Tullock and Camp- 
bell, with most of their men, set out northward. Their 
departure was taken so quietly and their destination left 
so vague, that Ogden suspected, probably with some 
foundation, that they were bound for the forks of the 
Missouri and the land of the Blackfeet, who, as it hap- 
pened, had been singularly docile this year. 568 His 
suspicions were confirmed when he learned that they 
had arranged their summer rendezvous for the Flat- 
head country, not far distant from the Three Forks. 
Tullock was equally suspicious of the designs of Og- 
den, placing a sinister interpretation on a misfortune 
which befell him shortly after his departure. Within 
three or four days of Ogden's camp, a detachment of 
his men were suddenly attacked by thirty or forty 
Blackfeet, who killed three and made off with about 
forty thousand dollars' worth of furs, forty-four horses, 
and a considerable quantity of merchandise. 669 

607 Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 371, 373, 374. 

568 Idem, vol. xi, 375. "These people [the Blackfeet] had always been 
considered enemies to our traders; but about that time [1827-1828] some of 
them manifested a friendly disposition, invited a friendly intercourse and 
trade, and did actually dispose of a portion of their furs to Messers Smith, 
Jackson, and Sublette." - Letter of W. H. Ashley to T. H. Benton, January 
20, 1829, in United States Senate, op. fit. 

569 Idem. Ogden afterwards saw the clothing, horses, etc., of these 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 283 

Disaster followed disaster for Smith, Jackson, and 
Sublette in the year 1828. Beside the loss of Tullock's 
men and the massacre on the Umpqua, misfortune be- 
fell another division of fifteen or twenty men, who were 
crossing from the Columbia to Great Salt Lake through 
the dangerous and little known deserts of southern Ore- 
gon. Four of the party had strayed from the main 
detachment to explore several small streams along the 
way. They planned to rejoin their companions in three 
or four days, but were never heard of again. 57( 

After the return of the various detachments to Great 
Salt Lake, in the fall of 1828, William Sublette set out 
for St. Louis with the accumulated furs. Arriving be- 
fore Christmas, he procured a fresh supply of horses, 
mules, and merchandise, enlisted sixty men, and started 
for the mountains in March, 1829. He followed the 
now well trodden route of the North Platte but, in- 
stead of proceeding through the South Pass to Green 
River and the Interior Basin, he turned north from the 
Sweetwater to the valley of the Popo Agie, where he 
arrived for rendezvous about the first of July. 571 David 
E. Jackson was absent, having remained for the spring 
and summer in the Snake River and Great Salt Lake 
country. 572 

men. Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xi, 378. He was, however, 
in no way responsible for the attack, as hinted by Sublette to Ashley. Among 
those killed was Pinckney Sublette, a relative (brother?) of William Sub- 
lette. Five other men were lost in the course of the year. United States 
Senate, op. cit. 

570 Idem. Their names were, Ephraim Logan, Jacob O'Harra, Wil- 
liam Bell, and James Scott. 

571 Victor, F. F. River of the West, 43, 48. The reason for abandoning 
Bear Lake or Great Salt Lake as the place of rendezvous is not entirely 
clear, but it may have been due to the fact that Smith, Jackson, and Sub- 
lette were operating more and more to the north, in the vicinity of their old 
fields about the upper Missouri and its tributaries, which were more easily 
accessible from the States via the Big Horn basin than via Great Salt Lake. 

572 Victor, op. cit., 57. 

284 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

After rendezvous, the company as usual divided, 
Milton Sublette, William's brother, with two free trap- 
pers, Henry Fraeb and Baptiste Gervais, going into the 
familiar region of the Big Horn, abandoned five years 
before, while William Sublette, with the main body, 
pushed westward into the Snake River country, hoping 
to meet here his long absent partner, Jedediah Smith, 
as had been agreed between them before the latter re- 
turned to California. Pursuing the old route of the 
overland Astorians, he ascended Wind River, crossed 
the Union Pass to the Hoback, which he descended to 
its confluence with the left fork of Snake River, and 
then, turning north to Jackson's Hole, met there his 
partner for whom this charming valley was named. 
Together they camped on the shores of Jackson's Lake 
under the shadow of the Tetons to await Smith's arri- 
val. But he did not come. Finally, detachments were 
sent out in various directions to search for him. One 
of these, of which Joseph L. Meek was a member, ran 
across him and the faithful Arthur Black, beyond the 
Tetons, in Pierre's Hole. Thither the entire camp 

In return for the favors extended him by the Hud- 
son's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver, Smith, it is 
said, promised Doctor McLaughlin that he and his 
partners would abandon their operations in the Snake 
River country, thereby giving the English a free rein 
in this much worked field. Mindful of his promise, 
Smith now, apparently, induced Sublette and Jackson 
to agree, rather reluctantly, to this arrangement." 3 In 
October, accordingly, after a brief hunt along Henry's 
fork, the whole outfit moved north and east through the 
North pass to Missouri Lake, the source of the Madison 

8 Victor, River of the West, 58 ff. 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 285 

fork, a region rich in furs but dangerous through the 
presence of the Blackfeet. 574 Smith assumed general 
command. For a time the men were unmolested and, 
in November, pushed still farther north and east, across 
the Gallatin fork into the lofty divide between that 
stream and the Yellowstone. On their way, a band of 
Blackfeet pounced upon them, killing two of their num- 
ber. The rest fled confusedly in scattered groups, re- 
uniting, without further loss of life, on the Stinking 
fork of the Big Horn. 575 Continuing eastward, they 
finally joined Milton Subletted party. After caching 
their furs, the entire company turned south across the 
Big Horn Mountains to the Wind River Valley, which 
they reached about Christmas. During the ensuing 
winter, William Sublette returned to St. Louis. 576 

On the first of January, 1830, the two remaining part- 
ners, leaving their winter quarters on Wind River, 
moved the entire camp north to the buffalo country on 
Powder River. The winter was proving severe and the 
supply of grass in Wind River Valley insufficient for 
the horses. The journey was accomplished in a fort- 

574 Victor, River of the West, 64. With this expedition went, beside 
Smith and Sublette, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Joseph L. Meek, James Bridget, 
Craig, Nelson, and Reese. 

575 In the course of the engagement with the Blackfeet, Meek, like the 
rest, fled to the mountains about the Yellowstone River. He was alone. 
"At his feet rolled the Yellowstone river, coursing away through the great 
plain to the eastward. To the north, his eye followed the windings of the 
Missouri, as upon a map, but playing hide-and-seek in amongst the moun- 
tains. Looking back, he saw the River Snake stretching its serpentine length 
through lava plains, far away, to its junction with the Columbia." - Victor, 
op. cit., 73 ff. Suffice it to say that there is no mountain from which such a 
view may be obtained. Seeking to escape from his predicament and rejoin 
his companions or find refuge among the Crows, Meek turned southeast, 
passing through the Yellowstone Park, where he met two of his companions. 

576 Victor, op. cit., 79 ff. Jedediah Smith sent a letter out by Sublette, to 
his brother, Ralph, dated December 24, 1829, Kansas Historical Society, 
Smith Mss. 

286 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

night. The camp then settled down for the remainder 

of the winter. 

Through the day, hunting parties were coming and going, men 
were cooking, drying meat, making moccasins, cleaning their 
arms, wrestling, playing games, and, in short, everything that 
an isolated community of hardy men could resort to for occu- 
pation, was resorted to by these mountaineers. Nor was there 
wanting, in the appearance of the camp, the variety, and that 
picturesque air imparted by a mingling of the native element; 
for what with their Indian allies, their native wives, and numer- 
ous children, the mountaineers' camp was a motley assemblage; 
and the trappers themselves, with their affectation of Indian 
coxcombry, not the least picturesque individuals. 

The change wrought in a wilderness landscape by the arrival 
of the grand camp was wonderful indeed. Instead of Nature's 
superb silence and majestic loneliness, there was the sound of 
men's voices in boisterous laughter, or the busy hum of con- 
versation; the loud-resounding stroke of the axe; the sharp 
report of the rifle; the neighing of horses, and braying of mules; 
the Indian whoop and yell ; and all that not unpleasing confu- 
sion of sound which accompanies the movements of the creature 
man. Over the plain, only dotted until now with the shadow 
of the clouds, or the transitory passage of the deer, the antelope, 
or the bear, were scattered hundreds of lodges and immense 
herds of grazing animals. Even the atmosphere itself seemed 
changed from its original purity, and became clouded with the 
smoke of many camp-fires. And all this change might go as 
quickly as it came. The tent struck and the march resumed, 
solitude reigned once more, and only the cloud dotted the silent 

If the day was busy and gleesome, the night had its charms as 
well. Gathered about the shining fires, groups of men in fan- 
tastic costumes told tales of marvelous adventures, or sung some 
old-remembered song, or were absorbed in games of chance. 
Some of the better educated men, who had once known and 
loved booksJbut whom some mishap in life had banished to the 
wilderness, Jrecalled their favorite authors, and recited passages 
once treasured, now growing unfamiliar; or whispered to some 
chosen confrere the saddened history of his earlier years, and 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 287 

charged him thus and thus, should ever-ready death surprise 
himself in the next spring's hunt. 577 

The spring hunt opened in April, and the company 
was again divided. Jackson, with about half the men, 
went across the mountains to his old haunts on Snake 
River, despite Smith's alleged promise to the British. 
With James Bridger as pilot and Jedediah Smith as 
commander, the remaining men crossed the series of 
parallel ridges dividing the southern tributaries of the 
Yellowstone. Crossing Tongue River and the Big 
Horn, they reached Bovey's fork, a tributary of the 
latter. Here, a serious accident occurred. A light fall 
of snow had suddenly melted in the warm spring sun, 
swelling the mountain streams far above their normal 
flood. Bovey's fork was a torrent, and, in attempting 
to cross it, thirty head of horses with three hundred 
traps were swept'away. 

It was Smith's intention despite the disaster of 1828 
and the attack of the previous year, to press once more 
into the rich country of the Blackfeet. Accordingly, 
undismayed by this latest disaster, he continued west- 
ward to Pryor's fork, then over a low divide, Pryor's 
gap, to Clark's fork of the Yellowstone, then to the 
Rosebud, and so to the Yellowstone itself "where it 
makes a great bend to the east." The river was so high 
that Smith was obliged to construct bull-boats to cross. 
They were soon in the heart of the Blackfoot country. 
With renewed precautions and doubled guard, Smith 
cautiously moved his company to the Musselshell and 
the Judith. Beaver were plentiful but danger immi- 
nent. The men were soon made aware of the presence, 
not far distant, of a large village of Blackfeet. Every 
day they stole traps but made no overt attack on the 

577 Victor, op. cit., 83-84. 

288 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

men themselves. After several weeks of high tension, 
to the great relief of the men, Smith gave the command 
to turn south again. On the whole, they had had a suc- 
cessful hunt, and, returning by the same route they had 
come, they hastened back to Wind River. On the way, 
a detachment commanded by Samuel Tullock raised 
the cache of furs on the Big Horn. 878 

Early in July, preparations were made for rendez- 
vous on Wind River and, on the tenth of the month, 
William Sublette arrived with ten wagons, two Dear- 
born buggies, four head of cattle, and a milch cow, 
having left St. Louis just three months before. 579 Ren- 
dezvous lasted three weeks. It was the last conducted 
by Smith, Jackson, and Sublette. On the fourth of 
August, the three partners sold their business to Thom- 
as Fitzpatrick, Milton Sublette, James Bridger, Henry 
Fraeb, and Baptiste Gervais, 580 who continued opera- 
tions until 1834 as tne Rocky Mountain Fur Company. 
The same day, with one hundred ninety packs of 
beaver, the retiring partners started back for St. Louis, 
arriving in that city the tenth of October. The cattle 
and wagons they also brought back with them, leaving 
the Dearborn buggies in the mountains. 581 So large a 

578 Victor, op. cit., 85 S. 

879 Smith, Jackson, and Sublette to John Eaton, St. Louis, October 29, 
1830, in United States Senate, Executive Documents, 2ist congress, 2d session, 
no. 39. Victor [op. cit., 89] gives the statistics of the expedition as fourteen 
wagons and two hundred men. 

580 The documents of this transaction and the business accounts of the 
Rocky Mountain Fur Company are in the Sublette Mss., carton 10, Missouri 
Historical Society. The retiring firm accepted, in part paynrent, a note for 
sixteen thousand dollars payable June 15, 1831. At Taos, in New Mexico, 
August 23, 1831, Jackson and Sublette executed a power of attorney to David 
Waldo, afterward Jackson's partner, to collect this note in cash or in beaver 
at $4.25 a pound. The note was then in the hands of W. H. Ashley. 

581 Smith, Jackson, and Sublette to John H. Eaton, St. Louis, October 29, 
1830, in United States Senate, op. cit. 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 289 

wagon train and so great a quantity of valuable furs 
had never been brought out of the mountains before, 
and their arrival in St. Louis created something of a 
sensation. 582 

The future plans of the three partners were probably 
undetermined when they reached St. Louis. Smith, 
perhaps, had decided definitely not to return again to 
the mountains. So he told J. J. Warner, a young man, 
who had arrived in St. Louis from his home in New 
London, Connecticut, just as Smith, Jackson, and Sub- 
lette were getting in. Warner, having come west for 
his health, sought an interview with Smith, hearing that 
he had lived for years in the mountains and could tell 
him something of the climate and general conditions of 
health prevailing in the far west. Warner described 
his interview thus: 

Instead of finding a leather stocking, I met a well-bred, intelli- 
gent, and Christian gentleman, who repressed my youthful ardor 
and fancied pleasure for the life of a trapper and mountaineer 
by informing me that if I went into the Rocky Mountains, the 
chances were much greater in favor of meeting death than of 
finding restoration to health, and that if I escaped the former 
and secured the latter, the probabilities were that I would be 
ruined for anything else in life than such things as would be 
agreeable to the passions of the semi-savage. He said that he 
had spent above eight years in the mountains and should not 
return to them. 583 

Smith found in the city, two of his younger brothers, 
awaiting his arrival. He had already written to his 
brother, Ralph, urging him to come to St. Louis. The 
latter seems to have been unable to comply, and so two 

582 Warner, J. J. "Reminiscences of Early California," Southern California 
Historical Society, Publications, vol. vii, 176. 

583 Idem. This is confirmed by Smith's letter to his brother, Ralph, 
dated Blue Fork of Kanzas River, September 10, 1830, Kansas Historical 
Society, Smith Mss. 

290 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

other brothers, Peter and Austin, came instead. Smith 
found them both in desperate straits financially but, 
with characteristic generosity, agreed to furnish them 
an outfit with which to go to Santa Fe the following 
spring. It may have been Milton Sublette, a member 
of the recently formed Rocky Mountain Fur Company, 
who turned Smith's attention in this direction. Milton 
Sublette had been in New Mexico two years before 
trapping with Ewing Young and had learned much 
about the Santa Fe trade. 584 It was Smith's first in- 
tention to furnish the capital and outfit, while his broth- 
ers made the actual journey to and from Santa Fe. 
Later, he determined to enlarge the venture and accom- 
pany it himself. In organizing the party he offered 
young Warner a position as clerk, which the latter 
gladly accepted. 685 

By 1830, the Santa Fe trade offered much greater op- 
portunities for wealth than the fur trade. In the latter, 
competition was constantly increasing, furs were be- 
coming scarcer and harder to procure, and, withal, the 
market price was positively declining. The Rocky 
Mountain Fur Company was obliged to dissolve part- 
nership within four years simply because the business 
was no longer profitable, and that, despite the fact that 
the members of this company were among the ablest, 
shrewdest, and most experienced mountain men in the 
country. In the Santa Fe trade, on the other hand, 
returns had constantly increased in volume ever since 
William Becknell, in the fall of 1821, sold for seven 
hundred dollars in Santa Fe, the wagon load of goods 

884 Gregg, Josiah. Commerce of the Prairies, in Thwaites, Early Western 
Travels, vol. xx, 23-24. 

585 Warner, "Reminiscences of Early California," op. cit., vol. vii, 177; 
Smith, E. D. "Jedediah Smith and the Settlement of Kansas," in Kansas 
Historical Society, Collections, vol. xii, 258. 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 291 

which he had brought from Franklin, Missouri. Dur- 
ing the ensuing ten years, many others had followed 
Becknell. James McKnight, Thomas James, and Col- 
onel Hugh Glenn had all made the trip that first year, 
1821, though not with wagons. 586 In 1822, William 
Becknell returned a second time, and, the same year, 
Braxton Cooper, 587 a Mr. Heath, 588 and, in the fall, 
James Baird and Samuel Chambers 589 went. Gregg 
says, "It is from this period -the year 1822 -that the 
virtual commencement of the Santa Fe trade may be 

A single expedition in 1823 was followed in 1824 
by the largest company that had hitherto made the 
journey, comprising eighty-one men, one hundred fifty- 
six horses and mules, twenty-five wagons, and about 
thirty thousand dollars' worth of merchandise. 590 The 
same year Braxton Cooper returned again, and also 
William Becknell ; Joseph Robidoux went out for the 
first but not the last time, 591 and James O. Pattie. 

This year, too, thanks to the efforts of Senator Thom- 
as Hart Benton, Congress appropriated ten thousand 
dollars for the construction of a road to Santa Fe and 
twenty thousand dollars to purchase a right of way 
through the Indian country. Work was begun the fol- 
lowing spring, and the highway completed in about 
three years. The road extended from Fort Osage to 

586 Compare Coues, Journal of Jacob Fowler (New York, 1898), 74, 79, 
142 and passim ; James, Three Years among the Indians and Mexicans, 47 ff. ; 
Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. ii, 500 ff. 

587 Gregg, Josiah. Commerce of the Prairies, in Thwaites, op. cit., vol. 
xix, 178. Missouri Intelligencer, September 23, 1822. 

588 Compare Chittenden, American Fur Trade, vol. ii, 503. 

589 Missouri Intelligencer, September 3 and 17, 1822. 

590 Gregg, op. cit., vol. xx, 180. 

591 "Sept. 20, 1824. Robidoux Party started for St. Afee to-day." "Au- 
gust 30, 1825. Robidoux Party arrived from Tous [Taos]." -Kennerly, 
James. "Journal," Kennerly Mss., Missouri Historical Society. 

292 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Taos, following the old trail. 592 Its completion rev- 
olutionized the Santa Fe trade. 693 

As this trade increased in volume, however, the ever 
attendant danger from Indian attack likewise increased 
until, in 1829, the United States government tried the 
expedient of accompanying the annual caravan with a 
detachment of infantry. This, apparently, was just 
the provocation needed to bring on a concerted Indian 
attack. Beyond Chouteau's island in the Arkansas 
River, the road, in approaching the Cimarron, lay in 
Mexican territory, which, of course, prevented the 
American troops from proceeding further. The great 
caravan, now deprived of its escort, continued its way. 
It was scarcely out of sight when a band of Kiowa In- 
dians pounced upon it. Fortunately Major Riley, com- 
manding the United States forces, had camped near the 
Arkansas and, on learning of the danger, hastened to 
the relief of the traders. The Indians fled, and Riley 
continued with the expedition as far as Sand Creek, 
where, perceiving no indication of further danger, he 
returned to the Arkansas to await the return of the 
caravan in the fall. On their way back from Santa Fe, 
the traders secured the protection of a detachment of 

592 There is valuable data on the construction of the road in the letters of 
George C. Sibley, 1825, Sibley Mss., vol. iii, Missouri Historical Society. 

598 The following figures compiled from Chittenden [The American Fur 
Trade, vol. ii, 519] show the magnitude of the commerce of the prairies: 
Year Am't Mdse. Wagons Men 

1822 $ 15,000 70 

1823 12,000 50 

1824 35,ooo 26 100 

1825 65,000 37 130 

1826 90,000 60 loo 

1827 85,000 55 90 

1828 I5O,OOO 100 200 

1829 6O,OOO 3O 5O 

1830 120,000 70 I4O 

Not all the merchandise was taken as far as Santa Fe. 

Explorations of J edediah Smith 293 

Mexican troops under Colonel Viscara as far as the 
Arkansas, where Riley and his men met them again and 
accompanied them the remainder of the distance. The 
government did not look approvingly on this arrange- 
ment, and, the next year, the escort was withdrawn with 
disastrous results. 

There was little in common between the fur trade 
and the Santa Fe trade. In the former, it was custom- 
ary to employ a considerable number of men over a 
wide extent of territory. The furs which were collect- 
ed in the spring and fall hunts were conveyed annually 
from rendezvous to St. Louis. Smith, Jackson, and 
Sublette had conducted their business on this basis. 
Jackson and Sublette remained continually in the moun- 
tains in command of the hundred or more men in their 
employ. Jackson, as resident partner, maintained his 
headquarters, first, in the vicinity of Great Salt Lake, 
and later east of the mountains, near the head of the 
Sweetwater, while Smith, the explorer, sought out new 
fields for exploitation. Sublette, on the other hand, 
each year made the trip back and forth from St. Louis, 
bringing in the stores of Indian goods, blankets, pow- 
der, shot, traps, liquor, etc., for the trappers, and re- 
turned with the year's accumulations of fur. 

In the Santa Fe trade, fewer men were employed and 
they were all attached to a single expedition. There 
were clerks, drivers, horse wranglers, guards and so on. 
The goods that were taken out, being destined for a 
civilized people, consisted largely of textiles, cottons, 
silks, calicoes, velvets, and finer weaves, hardware, and 
Yankee notions. The goods were conveyed to the mar- 
kets of Taos and Santa Fe and there disposed of for 
horses, mules, and sometimes also, furs (from the Col- 
orado Mountains), but especially for gold and silver 

294 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

bullion. From these points, the American goods made 
their way into the interior of Mexico and even to Cali- 

This was the business to which Smith and his two 
partners turned in the spring of 1831, at what seemed a 
most favorable moment. The Missouri Intelligencer 
of February 12, 1830, affirmed 

The inland trade between the United States and Mexico is in- 
creasing rapidly. This is perhaps the most curious species of 
foreign intercourse which the ingenuity and enterprise of Amer- 
ican traders ever originated. The extent of country which the 
caravans travel, the long journeys they have to make, the rivers 
and morasses to cross, the prairies, the forests, and all but 
African deserts to penetrate require the most steel-formed con- 
stitution and the most energetic minds. 

Smith, Jackson, and Sublette possessed the last quali- 
fications, if ever men did. 

In the spring of 1831, a number of parties set out for 
Santa Fe. One of these, including among its members 
Josiah Gregg, the historian of the Santa Fe trade, start- 
ed soon after Smith, and another party, a week after 
Gregg. 59 ' Smith's party comprised eighty-five men, 
including David E. Jackson, William Sublette, J. J. 
Warner, Smith's two brothers, and a considerable force 
of employees. 595 Setting out from St. Louis, on the 
tenth of April, they traveled leisurely up the Missouri 
Valley by the Boone's Lick Road, stopping a week or 
two in Lexington and a few days in Independence. 
While the party was in Lexington, Thomas Fitzpat- 
rick, Smith's friend and former employee and now his 
business successor, came in from winter quarters on the 
Yellowstone. On learning the nature of Smith's ven- 
ture, he gladly joined the expedition, accompanying it 

594 Gregg, J. Commerce of the Prairies, in Thwaites, Early Western 
Travels, vol. xix, 193. 

505 The "Eulogy," in Sabin, Kit Carson Days, 515. 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 295 

the entire distance. 586 From Independence, the cara- 
van, at last, on the fourth of May, began the actual 
journey to Santa Fe. Ten wagons belonged to Jedediah 
Smith, a like number to Jackson and Sublette, one to 
Messrs. Wells and Chadwick of St. Louis, another to a 
Mr. Flournoy of Independence, and another jointly to 
Smith, Jackson, and Sublette. 597 This last supported a 
small field piece on the rear axle, "the wagon [being] 
so constructed that it could be readily uncoupled, and 
the hind wheels with the piece of artillery mounted 
thereon drawn out ready for action." 598 

Little difficulty or danger was encountered on the 
first stage of the journey. One of the employees, Mer- 
ton by name, while they were still north of the Arkan- 
sas, ventured some distance from the main company in 
pursuit of antelope and was unfortunately overtaken 
and slain by the Pawnees. 599 They crossed the Arkan- 
sas without further mishap, finding that stream very 
low because of an unusually dry season. Once across, 
there stretched ahead of them sixty-five miles of burn- 
ing plains to the forks of the Cimarron. These moun- 
tain men must, indeed, have longed for the snow-chilled 
winds of the Rockies and the ever recurring springs 
that freshen the hottest days of mid-summer. Instead, 
they faced a searing south wind. As the entire party 

596 Warner, "Reminiscences of Early California," 177; Victor, op. cit., 101. 

597 I have followed E. D. Smith [o/>. cit.~\ in this, though he, apparently, 
based his account on Warner. Warner, however, declares that Jackson 
and Sublette owned ten wagons, Wells and Chadwick, ten, Flournoy, one, 
and Smith, Jackson, and Sublette, one. This would make Smith's share in 
the whole outfit only a part interest in one wagon, which is certainly in- 

598 Warner, "Reminiscences of Early California," op, cit., vol. vii, 177. 
Smith calls it a six-pounder, the traditional piece of artillery taken to the 
mountains. Smith, o,p. cit., loc. cit. It was a six-pounder that Ashley was in- 
correctly supposed to have conveyed to the mountains in 1826 [1827]. 

599 Warner, "Reminiscences of Early California," op. cit., vol. vii, 177. 
Compare Gregg, op. cit., vol. xix, 238. Gregg calls him Minter. 

296 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

was unfamiliar with the road, no one knew where to 
seek the water-holes, those miniature oases, which an 
experienced traveler of the plains could have discov- 
ered and which, even in so dry a season as that of 1831, 
would have offered at least a temporary relief. 60 ' At 
some points, moreover, the road lay at considerable 
distance from any water whatever, which, of course, 
doomed many a feverish search to futility. 601 

For two days they struggled valiantly forward, be- 
wildered by the net-work of buffalo traces criss-cross- 
ing the trail, in every direction, tempting paths for 
thirsty men. They followed some of them, no doubt, 
but only in vain, for at this season of the year, the drink- 
ing pools were as destitute of moisture as the cruel mir- 
ages which likewise tempted them from the well-beaten 
track. On the second day, their situation became des- 
perate. The horses were dying, and the men were ap- 
proaching that unstable equilibrium of mind which a 
prolonged thirst has been known so often to produce. 
It is a frenzy which drives a man so suffering, to ex- 
pend the very final ounce of his energy in one supreme 
effort to reach water, instead of conserving his strength 
to cover a greater distance and perhaps attain thereby 
his goal. Instinct was supplanting reason. 

On the third day, the party divided. Some struck 
off to the east, others to the west, while Smith and Fitz- 
patrick bravely plunged to the south along the choking 
road that lay ahead. 602 After great effort they reached 

600 Compare Gregg, op. cit., vol. xix, 236. 

601 Gregg mentions a point where a spring, the so-called, "Upper spring," 
was a quarter of a mile from the road, which ran along an adjacent ridge. 
The spring was reached by a path winding through dense thickets of under- 
brush. See idem, vol. xix, 233. 

602 J. J. Warner ["Reminiscences of Early California," op. cit., vol. vij, 
177] says that Smith set out to find water in the morning of the second day. 
The "Eulogy" [Sabin, op. cit., 515] says after they had been out nearly three 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 297 

a deep hollow where water was usually to be found, but 
it was now dry. Smith, leaving Fitzpatrick here to 
await the arrival of the main party, turned south in the 
direction of some broken ground a few miles distant. 605 
Following him with his spy-glass, Fitzpatrick watched 
him urge along his tottering animal until, some three 
miles away, he dropped behind a low eminence and 
disappeared from sight. 604 

Smith and his languid horse stumbled on mile after 
mile through the dancing heat until, following per- 
haps the unerring instinct of the beast, he espied what 
seemed to be a river course. He was now fifteen miles 

days. Mrs. Peter Smith's narrative [Southern California Historical Society, 
Publications, vol. iii, part 4, 53] says three days. The sources for the events 
of these last days of Smith's life are, in the order of their value: (i) A letter 
of Austin Smith in Kansas Historical Society, Smith Mss. Smith accompanied 
the expedition. He wrote this letter to his father from "Walnut Creek on the 
Arkansas, three hundred miles from the settlements of Missouri, September 
24, 1831," on his return from Santa Fe. He probably learned the details after 
reaching that city. (2) The reminiscences of J. J. Warner who was a mem- 
ber of the party and had the story of Smith's death from a group of Mexi- 
can traders, who, in turn, had it from the Indians who murdered him. 
He wrote his reminiscences a number of years later. They are printed in 
Southern California Historical Society, Publications, vol. vii. (3) Josiah 
Gregg's Commerce of the Prairies. Gregg followed the trail a short time 
after Smith and learned the incidents of his death from a Mexican cibolero, 
or buffalo hunter, and from New Mexicans in Santa Fe, who had pur- 
chased Smith's rifle and pistols from the assassins. The most available edi- 
tion of Gregg is in R. G. Thwaites's Early Western Travels, vols. xix, xx* 
(4) Mrs. Peter Smith's narrative in Southern California Historical Society. 
Publications, vol. iii, part 4. Mrs. Smith had the story from her husband 
who accompanied the expedition. (5) The "Eulogy," written less than a 
year after the event by an unknown author, who endeavored to ascertain 
the facts and whose account is based in large measure on information de- 
rived from Mexicans, who, in turn, were informed by Smith's assassins. 
(6) William Waldo's "Reminiscences" in the Missouri Historical Society, 
Waldo Mss. William Waldo had the story from his uncle, David Waldo, 
who was in Santa Fe at the time of Smith's death and who soon after en- 
gaged in business with David E. Jackson, a member of the expedition. 

603 Gregg and Mrs. Peter Smith state that he set out alone ; the "Eu- 
logy" that he was accompanied part way by Thomas Fitzpatrick ; Warner 
that he "rode on in advance of the party." 

o* The "Eulogy." 

The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

from his company. Fearing, perhaps, that it was only 
a mirage that mocked him, he urged forward his jaded 
horse to test his own eyes and soon, to his delight, 
dropped over the grassy bank and down into the grav- 
elly bed of the Cimarron. He found no constant stream 
but only here and there a small pool of precious water. 60 ' 
From the largest and the freshest, Smith and his horse 
drank. So eager had he been to reach the stream, that 
he had neglected the usual precautions. Refreshed at 
last and on the point of mounting and riding back with 
the good news to Fitzpatrick and the rest, he suddenly 
perceived his fatal rashness. Alone, with no available 
ambuscade and retreat cut off, he saw himself surround- 
ed by a hostile band of Comanches. 

They succeeded in alarming his animal, not daring to fire on 
him so long as they kept face to face. As soon as his animal 
turned, they fired and wounded him in the shoulder. He then 
fired his gun and killed the head chief. 606 

Two more of the savages he is said to have shot, badly 
crippled though he was, before he was finally done to' 
death. 607 

60s Warner; Mrs. Peter Smith; the "Eulogy." Gregg says that he was 
obliged to scoop out a hole in the sand into which the water slowly oozed. 

606 Austin Smith and Mrs. Peter Smith. Warner says that he was struck 
by a spear which pierced his body; Gregg, that he was pierced with arrows. 

607 E. D. Smith, with admirable devotion, has him rush in 'with an axe 
and slay thirteen out of the twenty Comanches. The "Eulogy" differs from 
the other narratives in stating that Smith "discovered them approaching .' 
when they were within a half a mile's distance ; and, knowing that it .was 
too late for flight, he rode directly towards them. At a short distance, they 
halted at his order, and made efforts to frighten his horse, wishing to fire 
on him when he was turned from them. After conversing among themselves 
about fifteen minutes, in Spanish, which Mr. Smith did not understand, they 
succeeded in scaring and turning his horse, when they immediately fired. 
A ball entered his body, near the left shoulder. Smith turned, levelled his 
rifle, and with the same ball shot the chief and another Indian, who was 
immediately behind him, and before he could get command of his pistols, 
they rushed upon him, and despatched him with their spears. His body 
was probably thrown into a ravine, as nothing could be found of it, when 
search was made for it two days afterwards." 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 299 

The company, having apparently given him up for 
dead either from exhaustion or at the hands of Indians, 
pushed on along the main highway to the nearest point 
on the Cimarron. Having refreshed their horses and 
themselves, at this stream, they seemingly made no ef- 
fort to assure themselves of Smith's fate but, instead, 
proceeded on their way to Santa Fe. 60i After an en- 
counter with a huge band of Blackfeet and Gros Ven- 
tres, roaming far to the south of their usual haunts, 
which would very likely have terminated in a disaster, 
had it not been for the cool head and native courage of 
William Sublette, they entered the New Mexican cap- 
ital, July fourth, i83i. 609 Here they definitely learned 
Smith's fate. As it happened, a company of Mexican 
traders came in at just the same time, having in their 
possession a rifle and a brace of large silver-mounted 
pistols, which Peter Smith at once recognized as the 
property of his brother. 610 The traders had purchased 
them of a war party of Comanches, who had related 
how they had seen a solitary horseman approach the 
Cimarron, how he had first watered his horse and then 
slaked his own thirst, how they had watched closely 
for a time and then rushed upon him and killed him. 
The pistols they were anxious to dispose of, either be- 
cause they were percussion locks, with which they were 
not familiar, or else because, having killed their chief, 
they might be regarded as evil medicine. ib 

In accordance with Smith's request, 611 William H. 
Ashley was appointed the administrator of his estate, 
and to him was transferred, regularly, Smith's share 

eos This is the implication in Gregg. 

609 Gregg and Warner. 

610 Guinn, op. cit., vol. iii, part 4, 53. 

611 Letter of Jedediah S. Smith to Ralph Smith, dated Blue Fork of 
Kansas River, September 10, 1830, Kansas Historical Society, Smith Mss. 

300 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

of the payments on the note given by Fitzpatrick, Sub- 
lette, and Bridger and the other members of the Rocky 
Mountain Fur Company to Smith, Jackson, and Sub- 
lette. The sums paid at sundry times were sufficient 
to give a fair portion to Smith's many brothers and sis- 
ters, who, as he died unmarried, were his only lawful 
heirs. 612 

"A very mild man and a Christian ; and there were 
very few of them in the mountains," is the estimate of 
Smith's character from one of his mountaineer contem- 
poraries. 613 Certainly no one of his western associates 
gave so much earnest thought to religious matters as did 
Smith. His letters express his spiritual longings and 
the crushing sense of his own sin and unworthiness. He 
lived in a period of religious flux and unrest. New 
sects were springing up all through the West; religion 
had become to the backwoodsman the one great vital 
issue of life. Western New York, where Smith had 
been brought up, was the most notable scene of this 
religious intoxication. A namesake of his and, like 
him, of New England extraction, established only a few 
miles from Smith's early home one of these new and 
typically western sects. The same sense of unregenera- 
tion and of unsatisfied groping after spiritual justifica- 
tion which drew Smith's neighbors to the Church of 
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, led him to express 
himself thus, 

As it respects my spiritual welfare, I hardly durst speak. I find 
myself one of the most ungrateful, unthankful creatures imag- 
inable. Oh, when shall I be under the care of a Christian 
Church? I have need of your prayers. I wish our Society to 

612 The documents covering the administration of Smith's estate are 
among the Sublette Mss., cartons 6 and 10, Missouri Historical Society. The 
exact extent of his estate can not be determined. 

613 Victor, F. F. River of the West, 79. 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 301 

bear me up before a Throne of Grace. I must tell you for my 
part, that I am much behind hand. Oh, the perverseness of my 
wicked heart! I entangle myself too much in the things of 
time. I must depend entirely upon the Mercy of that Being, 
who is abundant in goodness and will not cast off any, who call 
sincerely upon Him. Again, I say, pray for me, my Brother, 
and may He before whom not a sparrow falls without notice, 
bring us in His own good time together again. 614 

Nor was Smith's religion essentially demonstrative 
alone. "He made religion an active principle from the 
duties of which nothing could seduce him." 

He was a man of great courage and devotion to the 
task in hand, in the performance of which he never 
spared nor sheltered himself at the risk of his men. His 
entire effort was not for himself at all but for his family 
and his friends. No thought of personal gain actuated 
him; he strove rather to procure the wherewithal to 
repay those to whom he was indebted and to help those 
for whom he felt personally responsible. It is with no 
insincerity that he wrote, 616 

It is that I may be able to help those who stand in need, that I 
face every danger. It is for this, that I traverse the mountains 
covered with eternal snow. It is for this, that I pass over the 
sandy plains, in heat of summer, thirsting for water where I 
may cool my overheated body. It is for this, that I go for days 
without eating, and am pretty well satisfied if I can gather a few 
roots, a few snails, or, better satisfied if we can afford ourselves 
a piece of horse flesh, or a fine roasted dog, and, most of all, it 
is for this, that I deprive myself of the privilege of society and 
the satisfaction of the converse of my friends! But I shall 
count all this pleasure, if I am at last allowed, by the alwise 
Ruler, the privelege of joining my friends. Oh, my brother, 

614 Letter of Jedediah S. Smith to Ralph Smith, dated Wind River, De- 
cember 24, 1829, Kansas Historical Society, Smith Mss. 

615 The "Eulogy," in Sabin, op. cit., 517. 

616 Letter of Jedediah S. Smith to Ralph Smith, dated Wind River, De- 
cember 24, 1829, Kansas Historical Society, Smith Mss. 

302 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

let us render to Him, to whom all things belong, a proper pro- 
portion of what is His due. 

Smith was a very brave Christian gentleman. 617 

Had he lived, Smith would very likely have made a 
contribution of great value to geographic science. In 
the brief space of six years, he had crossed and recrossed 
(in many cases, the first white man to do so) the Amer- 
ican West from the upper Missouri, squthward, to the 
Platte and from the Columbia to the Colorado and 
westward to the Pacific. His geographic knowledge 
excelled that of all his contemporaries. He traveled, 
too, with wide-open eyes. Everywhere observant and 
greedy for information, he returned from each expedi- 
tion with something more than a superficial acquaint- 
ance with the business resources of the regions he had 
traversed. 618 He intended to publish his journals en- 
tire, and he also had in mind the preparation of an atlas 
that should, by embodying his discoveries, correct the 
prevailing misconceptions concerning the geography of 
the West. 619 

After his death, his notes and journals were collated 
and arranged for the press. Unfortunately, however, 
like the originals of the Bonneville journals, they were 
destroyed by fire in St. Louis. 620 Some of his expert 

617 It has been suggested [Sabin, E. L. Kit Carson Days, 140], that it 
was Smith who sowed the first seeds of Christianity among the Flatheads, 
which, in fruition, led that tribe to send a deputation to St. Louis, in 1832, 
seeking religious instruction for their people. Even if this Flathead depu- 
tation was actually sent, Smith's contribution is problematical as his so- 
journs among them at Flathead House, in the winter of 1824-1825 and in 
1829, was very brief. 

ei8 Compare Smith's report to Ashley, page 157; his report to General 
Atkinson, United States House, Executive Documents, I9th congress, ist ses- 
sion, vol. vi, no. 117; and his report with Jackson and Sublerte to John H. 
Eaton, Secretary of War, United States Senate, Executive Documents, 2ist 
congress, 2d session, vol. 5, no. 39. 

819 The "Eulogy" in Sabin, op. cit., 514; Waldo, William. "Reminiscences" 
in Missouri Historical Society, Waldo Mss. 

20 Guinn, J. M. "Captain Jedediah S. Smith," in Southern California 
Historical Society, Publications, vol. iii, part 4, 53. 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 305 

knowledge, however, did find embodiment in maps of 
the period. Two, in particular, were, in a large meas- 
ure, directly or indirectly, his work. The first is the 
careful map accompanying Albert Gallatin's Synopsis 
of the Indian Tribes within the United States. 6 " This 
was probably the best map of the West at the date of its 
publication, 1836, and it far excelled many that fol- 
lowed. The extent of Smith's contribution may be 
gauged from the following in Gallatin's text, 

Some unforeseen circumstances have prevented General Ashley 
of Missouri from communicating to me in time, as he intended, 
some further information respecting the country which he ex- 
plored in the Rocky Mountains and thence in a southwardly 
direction beyond Lake Timpanogo. But he has transmitted to 
me a manuscript map with numerous explanatory notes, the ma- 
terials for which consist of various journeys and explorations by 
some of our own enterprising traders and hunters [among 
others, Jedediah S. Smith]. 622 It is on that authority and sub- 
ject to such correction as more complete exploration and scien- 
tific observation will hereafter render necessary, that several 
geological innovations have been introduced in the small map 
annexed to this essay. 623 

Gallatin continues with a direct acknowledgment of 
Smith's services. 

The Lake Timpanogo has been found and is laid down in the 
same latitude and longitude nearly as has been assigned to it by 
Baron Humboldt. It receives two rivers from the east, which 
issue from mountains west of the Colorado, is known to Amer- 
icans as Great Salt Lake, and has no outlet whatever towards 
the sea. General Ashley's own explorations extend as far south 
as another small lake, to which his name has been given, and 
which is situated about eighty miles south of the southeastern 
extremity of Lake Timpanogo. It is also fed by a river coming 

621 Amerkan Antiquarian Society, Transactions, vol. ii (Cambridge 

622 Ashley communicated this information to Gallatin long before the 
publication of his memoir. 

623 American Antiquarian Society, Transactions, vol. ii, 140 ff. 

306 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

from the mountains in the south-east and has no outlet. The 
discoveries south and west of that place appear to belong to 
others, and principally to J. S. Smith. Another river known by 
the name of Last [sic for Lost] river, coming also from the 
coast, falls into another lake, also without outlet, situated in 
thirty-eight degrees north latitude and in the same longitude as 
Lake Timpanogo. 

J. S. Smith descended the Rio Colorado of California, in the 
year 1826, as far south as the thirty-fifth degree of north lati- 
tude. Proceeding thence westwardly, he reached the Spanish 
Missions of San Pedro and San Diego, near the Pacific. The 
ensuing year, he visited Monterey and St. Francisco; ascended 
the river Buenaventura some distance, and recrossed the 
Californian chain of mountains, called there Mount Joseph, in 
about the thirty-ninth degree of latitude. He thence proceeded 
north of west, and reached the southwestern extremity of Lake 
Timpanogo. The eastern foot of the Californian chain, where 
he recrossed it, is about one hundred and eighty miles from the 
Pacific. There he crossed some streams, coming from the south, 
which may either be lost in the sands, or, breaking through the 
mountains, north of Mount Joseph, unite with the river Buena- 
ventura. The course of this last river, so far as is known, is 
from north to south between and parallel to the Californian 
chain and the Pacific. 

Smith also contributed to the map accompanying 
Reverend Samuel Parker's Journal of an exploring 
Tour beyond the Rocky Mountains (Ithaca, i838). e " 

624 According to the "Eulogy" this map is almost entirely the work of 
Smith aided by Jackson and Sublette. It was intended to be published just 
as he left it. It has generally been supposed, however, that the Parker map 
was based partly on Parker's own observations and partly on Vancouver's 
chart and the explorations of Samuel Black, an Hudson's Bay Company 
factor, as stated by Parker [Journal of an exploring Tour beyond the Rocky 
Mountains (Auburn, 1846), p. v]. The "Eulogy" mentions Smith's contri- 
butions and an editorial in the Oregonian and Indians' Advocate, February, 
1839 [vol. i, no. 5, 158-159] distributes the indebtedness as follows, 
"The . . . coast is copied from the chart drawn by Vancouver, after a 
minute survey which he made. The one from which Mr. P. copied is pre- 
served at Fort Vancouver. The middle country is put down according to 
Mr. P.'s own directions. The north is from the surveys of a Mr. Black, and 
the south from the sketches of Mr. Smith." "To Mr. Black the world is 

Explorations of Jedediah Smith 307 

The southern portion of the map, perhaps below the 
forty-fifth parallel, is the work of Smith. Its accuracy 
is striking, and, so far as it goes (it does not extend be- 
low the thirty-ninth parallel), it excels the Gallatin 
map, which, however, has the merit of covering the area 
as far south as thirty degrees. 

Smith's contribution to cartography together with 
his own journals and diaries and sketches, although the 
last have unfortunately perished, entitle him to rank 
with Lewis and Clark in the group of foremost Ameri- 
can explorers. They discovered the first overland route 
to the Pacific; he discovered the second. Lewis and 
Clark followed the northern and, at their time, the eas- 
iest route, owing to the existence of water courses the 
entire way. Jedediah Smith, following, in general, the 
footsteps of William H. Ashley to the Great Salt Lake, 
continued southwest to the Pacific, returning by a dif- 
ferent route. Going and returning, he crossed un- 
tracked deserts. Lewis and Clark crossed merely from 
the Upper Missouri area to the Columbia Basin; Smith 
crossed from the Central Missouri area to the Interior 
Basin, thence to the Colorado Basin, and thence to the 
Pacific drainage. 

If there is any merit in untiring perseverance and terrible 
suffering in the prosecution of trade, in searching out new chan- 
nels of commerce, in tracing out the courses of unknown rivers, 
in discovering the resources of unknown regions, in delineating 
the characters, situation, numbers, and habits of unknown na- 
tions, Smith's name must be enrolled with those of Franklin 
and Parry, of Clapperton and Park. 625 

indebted for the greater part of the geographical knowledge which has been 
published of the country west of the Rocky mountains." - Wilkes, Charles. 
Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition during the years 1838, 
1839, 184.0, 184.1, 1842, (Philadelphia, 1845), vol. iv, 369. 
625 The "Eulogy" in Sabin, op. cit., 514. 


The bibliography is not intended to be exhaustive. 
Only those manuscripts and books are listed that have 
been utilized in the preparation of this volume. 

Manuscript Sources 

KANSAS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. A Brief Sketch of Accidents, Mis- 
fortunes, and Depredations, committed by Indians on the firm of 
Smith, Jackson, and Sublette, Indian Traders on the east and west 
side of the Rocky Mountains, since July i, 1826 to the present, 


Contains a list of the men lost. 

McCoy, Reverend Isaa. A diary covering the years 1817 to 

1823 and 1828 to 1841. 

Mentions William Henry Ashley. 

St. Louis Missouri Fur Company, Records. 

Covers the financial operations of the company. 

Smith, Jedediah S. 

Comprises most of the correspondence of Jedediah S. Smith that has 
survived, as well as letters of Austin Smith and Peter Smith, his brothers. 

Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Letter-book, 18301832. 

Contains tables of Indian depredations from 1823 to 1832 and an im- 
portant report on the fur trade made by William Gordon to Lewis Cass, 
Secretary of War, dated October 3, 1831. 


Comprises drafts of Ashler's letters and his business accounts. The 
collection includes the letter of December, 1825, and the Harrison G. 
Rogers journals, printed in the text. 

Chouteau, Pierre and Auguste. 

These contain the correspondence and business accounts of Pierre and 
Auguste Chouteau, covering the period 1778-1850. 

Crooks, Ramsay. 

Consisting of copies of the correspondence of Crooks from the col- 
lection of Mr. C. M. Burton of Detroit. 

310 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 


Andrew Drips was an employee of the American Fur Company. The 
manuscripts include his correspondence and business accounts. 

Hood, Washington. 

Consists of an itinerary of a route for wheeled vehicles across the 
Rocky Mountains by way of the South Pass and Jackson's Hole. 

Kearny, Stephen Watts. 

Contains the journals of Stephen Watts Kearny, 1820 and 1824, 1825. 

Kennerly, James. 2 cartons. 

Contains the diary of James Kennerly at Fort Atkinson, 1824, 1825. 

Sibley, George C. 3 vols. 

Includes material on the early history of the Santa Fe trade and on 
the construction of the Santa Fe road. 

Sublette, William, Milton, and Andrew. 13 cartons. 

Comprises most of the business correspondence of the firm of Smith, 

Jackson, and Sublette and papers covering the administration of Jedediah 
S. Smith's estate. Of first importance. 

Vasquez, Louis and Benito. 5 cartons. 

Louis Vasquez was an employee of Ashley and Henry and subsequently 
of Smith, Jackson, and Sublette. He became a member of the Rocky Moun- 
tain Fur Company. The collection contains also material on James Bridger 
who was Vasquez's companion and partner. 

Waldo, William. 

Comprises the reminiscences of William Waldo, whose uncle, David 
Waldo, was a friend and companion of Smith. 

Printed Sources 

BANCROFT, H. H. History of Arizona and New Mexico (San 
Francisco, 1888). 

History of California (San Francisco, 1884-1890), 7 vols. 

History of the Northwest Coast (San Francisco, 1884), 2 vols. 

History of Oregon (San Francisco, 1886-1888), 2 vols. 

History of Utah (San Francisco, 1889). 

The Bancroft histories, though quite unreliable in many respects, con- 
tain a wealth of source material for the study of the history of the west. 
Especially useful for the identification of early settlers. 

BEEKLY, A. L. Geology and Coal Resources of North Park, Colo- 
rado. United States Geological Survey. Bulletin 596 (Wash- 
ington, 1915)- 

Contains descriptions and maps of a portion of the area traversed by 
Ashley in 1824, 1825. 

BENTON, THOMAS HART. Speech in the Senate, reprinted in "Pro- 
ceedings of the Senate of the United States en the BiH for the 

Bibliography 311 

Protection of the Fur Trade" (St. Louis, 1824). Pamphlet. 

Presents a summary of the situation of the trade in 1824 by a well 
informed statesman. 

BIDWELL, JOHN. The First Emigrant Train to California, in Cen- 
tury Magazine, vol. xix (New York, 1890). 

Bidwell entered California by the valley of the Stanislaus, the route 
which Smith followed in the opposite direction on his first return from 
California, 1827. 
BILLON, F. L. Annals of St. Louis (St. Louis, 1880). 

A collection of source material relating to the early history of St. Louis. 

Annals of St. Louis in its Territorial Days (St. Louis, 1888). 

A continuation of the former, containing a number of important docu- 
ments bearing on the early operations of the St. Louis fur companies. 

BONNER, T. D. The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth 
(New York, 1856). 

An important narrative greatly undervalued. Especially useful for 
Ashley's expedition of 1824, 1825. The work comprises Beckwourth's 
personal reminiscences as he related them orally to Bonner. For the in- 
cidents in which Beckwourth himself participated he is, aside from his 
ever patent egotism, singularly reliable. 

BRACKENRIDGE, H. M. Views of Louisiana (Pittsburgh, 1814). 

BRADBURY, JOHN. Travels in the Interior of America (London, 


Reprinted in Thwaites, Early Western Travels, 1748-1846, vol. v 
(Cleveland, 1904). 

BRYANT, WILLIAM. What I Saw in California (New York, 1849). 
BURPEE, L. J., editor. Journal de Larocque. "Publications des ar- 
chives canadiennes, no. 3" (Ottawa, 1911). 

Larocque, an employee of the Northwest Company, examined the upper 
Missouri and Yellowstone country contemporaneously with Lewis and 
CAREY, M. 'General Atlas (Philadelphia, 1814). 

Contains maps showing contemporary conceptions of western 
CHASE, J. S. California Coast Trails (Boston, 1913). 

A description of the country which Smith traversed in 1828 on his 
way to the Umpqua. 

Trade of the Far West (New York, 1902), 3 vols. 
The standard history of the fur trade. 

History of Early Steamboat Navigation on the Missouri River 

(New York, 1903), 2 vols. 

Useful for the operations of the Missouri Fur Company and the 
American Fur Company. 

312 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

National Park (Cincinnati, 1915). 

Useful for the wanderings of John Colter. 

CLARKE, S. A. Pioneer Days of Oregon History (Portland, 1905), 
2 vols. 

Contains Dr. John McLaughlin's account of Smith's disaster on the 

CONRAD, H. L. Uncle Duck Wootton (Chicago, 1890). 
COOKE, P. ST. GEORGE. Scenes and Adventures in the Army ( Phila- 
delphia, 1857). 

COUES, ELLIOTT. The Expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike 
New York, 1895), 4 vols. 
The best edition of Pike. 

Forty Years a Fur Trader (New York, 1898), 2 vols. 

The personal narrative of Charles Larpenteur, an employee of the 
American Fur Company on the upper Missouri, 1833-1872. 

History of the Expedition under the command of Captains 

Lewis and Clark (New York, 1893), 4 vols. 

A well edited history of the Lewis and Clark expeditions. 

Journal of Jacob Fowler (New York, 1898). 

Contains material on the earliest expeditions to Santa Fe. 

New Light on the Great Northwest: the Henry-Thompson 

Journals (New York, 1897), 3 

Important for the early examination of the Columbia. 
COUTANT, C. G. History of Wyoming (Laramie, Wyoming, 1899). 

Of slight value. 
COYNER, D. H. The Lost Trappers (Cincinnati, 1859). 

Covers the wanderings of Ezekiel Williams, 1807 [?] to 1814 [?]. 
Fictitious but with a basis of fact. 

CRONISE, T. F. The Natural Wealth of California (San Francisco, 

Contains Smith's letter to Padre Duran. 
DALE, H. C. Did the returning Astorians use the South Pass? 

In Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xvii (Portland, 1916). 
Contains a letter of Ramsay Crooks, a leader of the returning As- 
torians reprinted from the Deseret News of November 5, 1856 (Salt Lake 
City, 1856). 

DARBY, WILLIAM. The Map of the United States (New York, 
circa 1818). 

Useful for early geographic conceptions. 

DAVIS, W. R. and D. S. DURRIE. Illustrated History of Missouri 
(St. Louis, 1876). 

Bibliography 313 

~ 7 

DE Bow, J. B. Industrial Resources of the South and West (New 

York, 1854). 
DELLENBAUGH, F. S. A Canyon Voyage (New York, 1908). 

The Romance of the Colorado River (New York, 1906). 

Dellenbaugh was the official photographer of the Powell expeditions 

in 1869 and 1871. 

Sketch of James Bridger (New York, 1905). Pamphlet. 
DODGE, HENRY. Report of the Expedition with Dragoons to the 
Rocky Mountains during the Summer of 1835, etc. (Washing- 
ton, 1836). 

In United States' Senate, Executive Documents, 24th congress, ist 
session, no. 209. 
DOUGLAS, W. B. Manuel Lisa. 

In Missouri Historical Society, Collections, vol. iii (St. Louis, 1911). 
A scholarly monograph. 
EDWARDS, R. and M. HOPEWELL. Edwards's Great West (St. 

Louis, s. d.). 
ELLIOTT, T. C, editor. Alexander Ross, "Journal, 1824." 

In Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xiv (Portland, 1913). 

Alexander Ross, "Journal, Flathead Post, 1825." 

In Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xiv (Portland, 1913). 
The Ross journals throw light on the operations of the Hudson's Bay 
Company in the Snake country. 

Peter Skene Ogden. 

In Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly, vol. xi (Portland, 1910). 
A sketch of Ogden's career. 

editor. Peter Skene Ogden, "Journals, 18*25-1826, 1826-1827, 

1827-1828, 1828-1829." 

In Oregon Historical Society, Quarterly,.*vo\s. x and xi (Portland, 1909, 

Of prime value for the exploration of the Columbia drainage arifr-^ 
and the northern portion of the Interior Basin. 

EYRIES, J. B., [P. F.] de Larenaudiere, et [J. H.] Klaproth. Nou- 
velles Annals des Voyages, ''series ii (Paris, 1833-1836). 

Contains Smith's letter describing his first journey to California. 
FARNHAM, T. J. Travels in the Great Western Prairies, etc. (Lon- 
don, 1843). 

Reprinted in Thwaites, Early Western Travels, 1748-184.6, vols. xviii- 
xix (Cleveland, 1906). 

A description of much of the area traversed by Ashley. 
FENNEMAN, N. M. Physiographic Boundaries within the United 

314 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

In Association of American Geographers, Annals, vol. iv (New York, 

An illuminating article. 
FINLEY, ANTHONY. New and General Atlas (Philadelphia, 1826). 

Useful for early geographic conceptions of the west. 
FLINT, T., editor. The Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie of 
Kentucky (Cincinnati, 1831). 

Reprinted as "Pattie's Personal Narrative" in Thwaites, Early Western 
Travels, 1748-1846, vol. xviii (Cleveland, 1905). 

Pattie reached California overland just after Smith. 
FREMONT, J. C. Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky 
Mountains in 1842, and to Oregon and North California in 1843- 
1844. (Washington, 1845). 

Contains the official narratives of Fremont's expeditions of 1842, 1843, 
and 1844. 

GALES [J.] and [W. W.] S EATON. Register of Debates 1833- 
1837 (Washington, 1833-1837). 

Contains material on Ashley's career in Congress. 

GALLATIN, ALBERT. Synopsis of the Indian Tribes within the 
United States East of the Rocky Mountains and in the British and 
Russian Possessions of North America. 

In American Antiquarian Society, Transactions, vol. ii (Cambridge, 

Mentions Ashley's and Smith's contributions to cartography. 
GARRISON, G. P. Texas (American Commonwealths), (Boston, 

For early lead mining in Missouri. 

GASS, PATRICK. JOURNAL (Philadelphia, 1810). 

For the Lewis and Clark Expedition. 
GODDARD, P. E. The Life and Culture of the Hupa. 

In University of California, Publications in American Archaeology and 
Ethnology, vol. i (Berkeley, 1903). 

GREGG, JOSIAH. The Commerce of the Prairies (New York, 1845), 
2 vols. 

Reprinted in Thwaites, Early Western Travels, 1748-1846, vols. xix-xx 
(Cleveland, 1905). 

A classic. 
GUINN, J. M. Captain Jedediah S. Smith. 

In Southern California Historical Society, Publications, vol. iii, part 4 
(Los Angeles, 1897). 

A not very accurate account of Smith's activities in California. 
HARRIS, W. R. The Catholic Church in Utah (Salt Lake City, 

Bibliography 315 

Contains an English translation of the Diana of Escalante. Useful 
also for Etienne Provot. 
HINES, GUSTAVUS. Oregon (Buffalo, 1851). 

Based on interviews with Oregon pioneers including Dr. McLaughlin. 
Contains material on Smith's disaster on the Umpqua. 
HISTORY of Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Crawford, and Gas- 
conade Counties, Missouri (Chicago, 1888). 

Contains material on Ashley's and Henry's mining and manufacturing 

HODGE, F. W. Handbook of American Indians, U. S. Bureau of 
American Ethnology, Bulletin 30 (Washington, 1907, 1910), 2 

HOUGHTON, E. P. D. The Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate 
(Chicago, 1911). 

Mentions John Turner, one of Smith's employees. 

HUMBOLDT, ALEXANDER VON. Political Essay on the Kingdom of 
New Spain, translated by John Black (London, 1811), 3 vols. 

Contains a summary of early exploration including the journeys of 
Dominguez and Escalante. The map, portions of which are reproduced 
in the translation, is particularly valuable. 
HUNTER, JOHN. Memoir of a Captivity among the Indians of 

North America (London, 1824). 

ILLUSTRATED HISTORY of Southern California (Chicago, 1890). 
IRVING, WASHINGTON. Astoria (Philadelphia, 1841), 2 vols. 

The most important secondary account of the Astor enterprise. Es- 
pecially valuable for the group which returned overland from Astoria. 

Rocky Mountain Sketches (Philadelphia, 1832), 2 vols. 

JAMES, EDWIN. Account of the Expedition from Pittsburgh to the 
Rocky Mountains, etc. (London, 1823), 3 vols. 

Reprinted in Thwaites, Early Western Travels, 1748-1846, vols. xiv- 
xvii (Cleveland, 1905). 

An account of Stephen H. Long's expedition. Ashley in 1824 covered 
a portion of Long's route of 1820. 

JAMES, THOMAS. Three Years among the Indians and Mexicans 
(Waterloo, Illinois, 1846). 

A very rare pamphlet containing the reminiscences of one of Manuel 
Lisa's employees on the upper Missouri who was later one of the first 
Americans to make the journey overland to Santa Fe. Especially valuable 
for the years 1809 to 1811. A new edition has recently appeared edited by 
W. B. Douglas for the Missouri Historical Society. 

KOLB, E. L. Through the Grand Canyon from Wyoming to Mexico 
(New York, 1914). 

A record of the latest expedition down Green River and the Colorado. 

316 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

LANG, H. O. History of the Willamette Valley (Portland, 1885). 
LATHAM, R. G. On the Language of the Northern, Western, and 
Central Americas. 

In London Philological Society, Transactions (London, 1856). 
Useful for the Indian tribes encountered by Smith in northern Cali- 
fornia and Oregon. 
LAVOISNE, C. V. Atlas (Philadelphia, 1821). 

editor. A Complete Historical, Chronological, and Geograph- 
ical Atlas accompanying Le Sage's Atlas (Philadelphia, 1822). 

Useful for early geographic conceptions of the west. 
LYMAN, H. S. History of Oregon (New York, 1903), 4 vols. 
MANLY, W. L. Death Valley in 1849 (San Jose, 1894). 

Manly descended Green River for some distance in 1849 en route to 

MAP of Spanish North America, Published as the Act directs, Aug't. 
2O, 1818, by Longmans, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, Pater- 
noster Row, London. Engraved by Sid y Hall. 

A map of unusual value, possibly based on a copy of Dominguez, 
Francisco Atanasio and Silvestre Velez Escalante, "Piano geografico de la 
tiera descubierta y demarcada por Dn Bernardo de Miera," etc. (/. d. 
\_ca. 1777]) in United States Library of Congress, Woodbury Lowery 
Collection, no. 593. 

MAXIMILIAN [Prince of Wied]. Travels in the Interior of North 
America (London, 1843). 

Reprinted in Thwaites, Early Western Travels, 174.8-1846, vols. xxii- 
xxiv (Cleveland, 1906). 

MEADE, WILLIAM. Old Churches, Ministers, and Families of Vir- 
ginia (Philadelphia, 1861). 

Throws some light on Ashley's ancestry. 

MELISH, JOHN. Map of the United States with the contiguous 
British and Spanish Possessions (Philadelphia, ca. 1816). 

Contains good early maps. 

MISSOURI HISTORICAL SOCIETY. Collections, vols. iii and iv (St. 
Louis, 1908-1911). 

Contains a number of valuable articles. Volume iv includes a sum- 
mary of the material on Ezekiel Williams. 

Collections of Newspaper Excerpts. 

Clippings from early Missouri newspapers chiefly from 1808 to 1830. 

MISSOURI INTELLIGENCER, 1822 to 1826 (St. Louis). 

Useful for the early history of the fur trade. 
MISSOURI REPUBLICAN, 1818 to 1822 and 1827 to 1831 (St. Louis). 

Contains material on the operations of Ashley and Smith. 

Bibliography 317 

MOFRAS, E. D. DE. Exploration du Territoire de 1'Oregon (Paris, 


Covers the entire Pacific coast. 
MONT AGNES, FRANCOIS DBS [pseudonym]. The Plains. 

In the Western Journal, vol. ix (St. Louis, 1852). 

Contains material on Thomas Fitzpatrick. 
NEIHARDT, J. G. The Song of Hugh Glass (New York, 1915)- 

A metrical account of Glass's adventures. 
NILES REGISTER, 1818 to 1856 (Baltimore). 

These volumes contain many valuable items covering the west in gen- 
eral and the activities of the fur companies in particular. 
OREGONIAN and Indians' Advocate (Lynn, Massachusetts, 1838, 


Refers to Smith's contributions to cartography. 

PARKER, REVEREND SAMUEL. Journal of an Exploring Tour Be- 
yond the Rocky Mountains (Auburn, 1846). 

Includes a map to which Smith contributed. 

PERRIN DU LAC, F. M. Voyages dans les deux Louisianes et chez 
les nations sauvages du Missouri, par les Etats-Unis, 1'Ohio et les 
Provinces qui le bord, en 1801, 1802, et 1803 (Paris, 1805). 

Shows the geographic conception of the west at the beginning of the 
nineteenth century. 

POWELL, J. W. Exploration of the Colorado River of the West 
(Washington, 1878). 

The first carefully recorded descent of the upper Colorado (Green 
River) after Ashley. 
POWERS, STEPHEN. Indian Tribes of California. 

In United States Bureau of Ethnology, Contributions to North Amer- 
ican Ethnology (Washington, 1877). 

Useful for the Indian tribes encountered by Smith. 

PRYOR, NATHANIEL. Letter to William Clark, October 16, 1807. 
In Annals of Iowa (Des Moines, 1896), third ser., vol. i. 
For Manuel Lisa. 

QUAIFE, M. M. The Journals of Captain Meriwether Lewis and 
Sergeant John Ordway. (Madison, 1916). 

Publications of the Wisconsin State Historical Society, Collections, vol. 
QUIGLEY, HUGH. The Irish Race in California (San Francisco, 


RAYNOLDS, W. F. Report of the Exploration of the Yellowstone 
River, 1867. 

In United States Senate. Executive Documents, 4oth congress, ad ses- 
sion, no. 77. 

318 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

REEVES, L. U. The Life and Military Services of General William 
S. Harney (St. Louis, 1878). 

Mentions Ashley's return to St. Louis by way of the Big Horn and the 
Yellowstone to the Missouri. 

REPORT of Exploration and Survey to ascertain the most practicable 
and economic Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to 
the Pacific Ocean, made under direction of the Secretary of War 
in 1853-1856 (Washington, 1856-1860), being United States 
Senate, Executive Documents, 33d congress, 2d session, no. 78, 
12 vols. 

Also United States House, Executive Documents, 33d congress, ad 
session, no. 91. 

Volume xi contains Lieutenant G. K. Warren's "Memoir to accompany 
the Map of the Territory of the United States from the Mississippi River 
to the Pacific Ocean, giving a brief account of each of the exploring 
expeditions since A. D. 1800, with a detailed description of the methods 
adopted in compiling the general map." 

RICHMAN, I. B. California under Spain and Mexico (Boston, 

Contains a useful map. 

Ross, ALEXANDER. Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon 
or Columbia River (London, 1849). 

Reprinted in Thwaites, Early Western Travels, 1748-1846, vol. vii 
(Cleveland, 1904). 

Contains material on the Pacific coast venture of John Jacob Astor. 
Particularly valuable for events at Astoria. 

Fur Hunters of the Far West (London, 1855), 2 vols. 

Based in part on Ross's journal of 1824. 

SAGE, R. B. Rocky Mountain Life (Boston, 1860). 

Useful in determining Ashley's route in 1824. 
ST. Louis REVEILLE, 1847 (St. Louis). 

Contains material on Thomas Fitzpatrick. 

SCHOOLCRAFT, H. R. Journal of a Tour into the Interior of Mis- 
souri and Arkansas (London, 1821). 

Scenes and Adventures in the Semi-Alpine Regions of the Ozark 

Mountains (Philadelphia, 1853). 

Views of the Lead Mines of Missouri (New York, 1819). 

SIMPSON, J. H. Report of Explorations across the Great Basin 
of Utah for a direct wagon-route frohi Camp Floyd to Genoa in 
Carson Valley, in 1859. (Washington, 1876). 

SMITH, CAPTAIN JEDEDIAH STRONG : Eulogy of that most romantic 
and pious of mountain men, first American by land into Cali- 

Bibliography 319 

Printed originally in the Illinois Magazine, June, 1832, and reprinted 
in Sabin, Kit Carson Days (Chicago, 1914). 

Throws light on Smith's contributions to geographic discovery and 
SMITH, E. D. Jedediah Smith and the Settlement of Kansas. 

In Kansas Historical Society, Collections, vol. xii (Topeka, 1912). 
Utilizes the manuscript material in the Kansas Historical Society but 
is inflated and inaccurate. 

SOLITAIRE [pseudonym of John S. Robb]. Major Fitzpatrick, the 
Discoverer of the South Pass. 

In the St. Louis Reveille, March i, 1847. 
STANSBURY, HOWARD. Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the 

Great Salt Lake of Utah (Philadelphia, 1855). 
SWITZLER, W. F. General William Henry Ashley. 

In the American Monthly Magazine, vol. xxxii (Washington, 1908). 
A biographical sketch of slight value. 

Historical Sketch of Missouri. 

In Barns, The Commonwealth of Missouri, part 2 (St. Louis, 1878). 
TEGGART, F. J. Notes Supplementary to any Edition of Lewis and 

In American Historical Association, Annual Report, !Qo8 (Washing- 
ton, 1909). 

A commentary on the explorations of Trudeau and his contemporaries. 
THOMPSON and West. History of Los Angeles County, California 

(Oakland, 1880). 

THWAITES, R. G. Early Western Travels, 1748-1846 (Cleveland, 
1904-1906), 32 vols. 

Volumes v to xxx contain a vast amount of descriptive material for 
the far West in general. 

Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expeditions (New 

York, 1904, 1905), 8 vols. 

The best edition of Lewis and Clark. 

Part i, American Historical Review, vol. xix (New York, 1914) ; part 
iii [ii], (translation), Missouri Historical Society, Collections, vol. v (St. 
Louis, 1912). < 

Throws light on a number of interesting points connected with the 
early exploration of the Missouri. 

TWITCHELL, R. E. Leading Facts of New Mexican History (Ce- 
dar Rapids, 1911), 2 vols. 

UNITED STATES American State Papers, "Indian Affairs" (Wash- 
ington, 1832 and 1834), 2 vols. 

Contains scattered data on the fur trade. 

320 The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

UNITED STATES. Bureau of American Ethnology. Second Annual 
Report, 1885, 1886 (Washington, 1891). 

Department of the Interior. Report of the Geological Explor- 
ation of the Fortieth Parallel (Washington, 1876). 

The King Survey. The accompanying Geological and Topographical 
Atlas is useful. 

Geological Survey. Big Trees, Bridgeport, Carson, Coos Bay, 

Cucamonga, Dardanelles, Fort Steele, Jackson, Marsh Peak, Pasa- 
dena, Peal, Port Orford, Pyramid, St. Thomas, Sonora, Wabuska, 
Wellington, Yosemite Quadrangles (topographic sheets), (Wash- 
ington, I893-I9H). 

House. Executive Documents, igth congress, ist session, vol. i. 

Contains "Licenses to trade with the Indians, 1823." 

House. Executive Documents, igth congress, ist session, vol. 

i, no. 117. 

Contains letters of Brigadier-general Henry Atkinson to Major-general 
Brown, November 23, 1825. 

Senate. Executive Documents, i8th congress, ist session, vol. i. 

Contains a letter of Benjamin O'Fallon to Brigadier-general Henry 

Atkinson, July 3, 1823; "Licenses to trade with the Indians, 1822;" letter 
of W. H. Ashley to Colonel Leavenworth, June 4, 1823, describing the 
Arikara fight; letter of Brigadier-general Atkinson to Major-general 
Gaines, St. Louis, August 17, 1823 ; letter of W. H. Ashley to Colonel 
O'Fallon, Fort Brasseaux, July 19, 1823, describing the Arikara fight; and 
a letter of Major-general Gaines, August 15, 1823, alluding to the same. 

Senate. Executive Documents, 2Oth congress, 2d session, vol. i, 

no. 67. 

Contains a letter of W. H. Ashley to Thomas Hart Benton, St. Louis, 
November 12, 1827 and also a letter of Ashley to the same, January 20, 

Senate. Executive Documents, 2 ist congress, 2d session, vol. i, 

no. 39. 

Contains a letter of W. H. Ashley to General A. Macomb, March, 
1829; also a report of Smith, Jackson, and Sublette to John Eaton, Secre- 
tary of War, October, 29, 1830. 

Senate. Executive Documents, 22d congress, ist session, vol. ii, 

no. 90. 

Contains a report of Joshua Pilcher on the fur trade, 1831, and a letter 
of Thomas Forsyth to Lewis Cass, Secretary of War, October 24, 1831. 

War Department. Map of the Military Department of the 

Platte, Wyoming (Washington, 1874). 

War Department, Missouri River Commission. Map of the 

Missouri River (Washington, 1892-1895). 

Bibliography 321 


In W. R. Harris's The Catholic Church in Utah (Salt Lake City, 1909). 
Contains an English translation. 
VICTOR, F. F. The River of the West (Hartford, 1870). 

Based on the personal reminiscences of Joseph L. Meek as related by 
him to Mrs. Victor. Useful for the operations of Smith, Jackson, and 
Sublette, 1827 to 1830. 
WALLACE, DILLON. Saddle and Camp in the Rockies (New York, 


WARNER, J. J. Reminiscences of early California from 1831 to 

In Southern California Historical Society, Publications, vol. vii (Los 
Angeles, 1906). For Smith's last journey and death. 
WETMORE, A. Gazetteer of Missouri (St. Louis, 1837). 
WILKES, CHARLES. The Narrative of the United States Exploring 
Expedition during the years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, and 1842 
(Philadelphia, 1845), 5 vols. 
WILLIAM AND MARY COLLEGE Quarterly, vol. xxi (Richmond, 


Contains material on Ashley's ancestry and early life. 
WISLIZENUS, F. A. Ein Ausflug nach den Felsen Gebirgen im 
Jahre 1839 (St. Louis, 1840). 

Reprinted with a translation as A Journey to the Rocky Mountains in 
the Year 1839 (St. Louis, 1912). 

Covers much of the area traversed by Ashley. 
WYETH, N. J. Letters and Journals. 

In Young, F. G. Sources of the History of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon, 


ABSARAKA (land of the Crows): 28 

Absaroka Mountains: 18 

Academy of Pacific Coast History: 14 

Adams [Virgin] River: descended by 
Smith (1826), 189; described by 
Smith, 187-188 

Agriculture: 132-133, 136-137, 152, 
155, 188-189, 191, 198; grazing, 
115, 118, 122, 125, 134, 136, 137, 
138, 165, 169, 193, 198, 200, 240, 
241, 248, 249, 250, 251, 254, 255, 
256, 259, 263, 265, 266, 269; possi- 
bilities, 136-137, 140, 191, 264; of 
Mohave Indians, 189; ranching, 
198 ; at San Gabriel, 200 

Alder: 245, 257 

Allen, Hiram: in Ankara campaign, 

Allen, Thomas: article in De Bow, 

Industrial Resources, cited, 58, 

American Antiquarian Society: 15; 

Transactions, cited, 305, footnote 
American Fork (of the Sacramento) : 

suggested as Smith's route (1827), 

192, footnote 
American Fur Company: 58, 107, 

footnote, in, 152, footnote, 171, 

footnote; competes with Smith, 

Jackson, and Sublette, 170, foot- 
Ammuchaba Indians: see Mohave 

Annals of Iowa: cited, 29, footnote, 

174, footnote 
Anderson, J: killed by Indians 

(1823), 88, footnote 
Antelope: 129, 131, 155, 187, 191 

Antonio (steward of the Mission of 

San Gabriel) : 221 

Arana, Jose Antonio: 220, footnote 

Arapaho Indians: 34, footnote, 37, 

123, 124, footnote, 126, 127, 156, 


Archive del Arzobispado: reference, 

227, footnote, 232, footnote 
Arguello, Luis Antonio: 233, footnote 
Arikara Indians: 86, 87, footnote, 
88, no, 122, footnote, 126, foot- 
note; villages of, 29, 33, 71, foot- 
note, 74 if., 76, 94, footnote, 182; 
attitude toward whites, 70, 88 ; 
encounter with Ashley, 69, 70 ff., 86, 
footnote, 113, footnote, 181; peace 
negotiations with, 82, 83 ; treaty 
with, 83-84; results of campaign 
against, 84-85; attack Andrew 
Henry, 88 

Arizona: 20, 188, footnote 
Arkansas River: 19, 20, 36, footnote, 
53, 54, 120, 124, footnote, 126, 128, 
292, 293, 295 
Arrow Rock: 36, footnote 
Artemisia tridentata: see Sage brush 
Ashley, William: 59, footnote 
Ashley, William Henry: 30, 51, 58, 
footnote, 91, footnote, 92, 93, 94, 
98, fooitnote, 107, no, 116, 128, 
footnote, 129, footnote, 133, foot- 
note, 135, footnote, 139, footnote, 
140, footnote, 142, footnote, 143, 
footnote, 146, footnote, 149, foot- 
note, 151, footnote, 154, footnote, 
156, footnote, 160, footnote, 161 ff., 
181, 182, 184, 185, 186, footnote, 
281, 288, footnote, 295, footnote, 


The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

305, footnote, 307; explorations in 
general, 13, 14, 17-18, 109; early 
history, 59-60; interested in min- 
ing, 60; at Potosi, 61 ; acquaint- 
ance with Andrew Henry, 61, 63; 
officer in the Missouri militia, 63 ; 
engages in the fur trade, 63 S. ; 
business methods, 42, 67-68; ex- 
pedition of 1822, 68-69; expedition 
of 1823, 69-70; encounter with the 
Arikara Indians, 69, 70 ff. ; opera- 
tions (1824-1825), 90; geographic 
knowledge, 101-102, 151, footnote, 
154, footnote, 305-306; route (1824- 
1825), 115-116, 117-163; narrative 
of the expedition (1824-1825), 14, 
117-161 ; sights Rocky Mountains, 
127 ; crosses continental divide, 
133-134; embarks on Green River, 
139; descent of Green River, 116, 
139 ff., 144, footnote; ascends Uin- 
ta and Duchesne Rivers, 152-153; 
at rendezvous, 1825, 108, 112, 156- 
157; returns to Missouri, 160-161; 
meets Yellowstone Expedition, 162; 
arrival in St. Louis, 164; expedi- 
tion of 1826, 165, 183; at rendez- 
vous (1826), 165, 168, 183; at 
Great Salt Lake, 165, 168, 183; 
fort at Great Salt Lake, 168, foot- 
note; sells to Smith, Jackson, and 
Sublette, 168, 183-184; return to 
St. Louis, 168-169; continued in- 
terest in fur trade, 169 ff.; politi- 
cal career, 172 ff. ; quoted, 174, 185 ; 
death, 177; executor of Smith's 
will, 299; contributions to cartog- 
raphy, 305 ; letter to Gen. A. Ma- 
comb, cited, 171, footnote, 172, 
footnote; letter to T. H. Benton, 
reference, 185; cited, 60, footnote 

Ashley and Henry (fur company) : 
58 ' 

Ashley and Smith (fur traders): 184, 

Ashley Mss: cited, 108, footnote, 117, 
footnote, 168, footnote, 170, foot- 

note, 177, footnote, 185, footnote, 
229, footnote, 231, footnote 

Ashley's Cave: 60 

Ashley Falls: 142, footnote 

Ashley's Fork: 149, footnote 

Ashley Island: 75, footnote 

Ashley Lake: 187, footnote 

Ashley Park: 144, footnote 

Ashley's River: ascended by Smith, 

Ashtabula (Ohio) : residence of 
Smith, 179 

Assiniboine Indians: 71; attack An- 
drew Henry, 69, 71, 88, no 

Assiniboine River: 40 

Astor, John Jacob: 36; enterprise, 
33, 55, 56, 58, 185 

Astoria [Fort George]: 55, 58, 105, 
footnote, 109 ; arrival of overland 
Astorians, 35; departure of over- 
land Astorians, 36; arrival of Dav- 
id Thompson, 41 

Astorians: overland (west-bound), 
29, 33, 35, 37, footnote, 41, 42, 52, 
98; route, 33, 34, 51, 284; (east- 
bound), 37, 52, 93, 96, 109; route, 

Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe 
Railroad: route followed by Smith 
(1826), 190, footnote 

Atkinson, Henry: 77, footnote, 117, 
footnote, 177; commands Yellow- 
stone Expedition, 161 ; Report, cit- 
ed, 120, footnote, 122, footnote, 123, 
footnote, 162, footnote, 171, foot- 
note, 182, footnote 

Aull, James: letter, cited, 173, foot- 

Austin, Moses: engaged in lead min- 
ing, 62; at Potosi, 62 

BAINBRIDGE: residence of Smith, 179 

Baird, James (Santa Fe trader) : 291 

Bald Peak: 153, footnote 

Bancroft, H. H: History of Arizona 
and Ne<u> Mexico cited, 150, foot- 
note; History of California cited 



in footnotes on following pages, 
187, 192, 195, 199, 204, 205, 206, 

2O7, 2O9, 217, 219, 22O, 221, 222, 
227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 

277; History of the North-west 
Coast cited, 220, footnote, 276, foot- 
note; History of Utah cited, 156, 

Bandini, Juan: 221, footnote 
Bannock County (Idaho) : 44 
Bannock [Pannack] Indians: 166 
Barona, Jose (padre) : 222, footnote 
Bartleson-Bidwell expeditions to Cal- 
ifornia: route, 192, footnote 
Bates, Frederick: 172 
Beans: 189 

Bear: 121, footnote, 155, footnofy 
241, 244, 253, 254; presented to 
Ashley, 163-164 
Bear, The (Arikara chief) : 71, 74, 


Bear [Black Bear's], [Little] Lake: 
44, 51, 136, footnote, 155, footnote, 
186, 229; description, 228-229, 237; 
rendezvous at (1827), 171, 228, 
280, 283, footnote 

Bear River: 21, 37, 38, footnote, 43, 
footnote, 44, 46, footnote, 47, 52, 
101, 103, 153, footnote, 186, 228, 
229, 282 ; descent by James Bridger, 
104, 154, footnote, 158, footnote; 
trapped by Ashley's men (1825- 
1826), 105, 106, 165, 167; see Yam- 
pah River 

Bear River Mountains: 138, footnote 

Beaver: 131, 157, 158, 191, 212, 238, 
247, 279, 281, 288, footnote; plenti- 
ful, 157-158, 184, 210, footnote, 287; 
purchased by Smith from the In- 
dians, 241, 268, 271, 272 

Beaver Creek: 125, footnote 

Becknell, William (Santa Fe trader) : 
156, footnote, 181, footnote, 290-291 

Beckwourth, James P: 114, footnote, 
117, footnote, 125, footnote, 144, 
footnote, 157, footnote, 158, foot- 
note, 159, footnote, 163, 164, 167, 

footnote; saves Ashley's life, 139, 
footnote ; with Fitzpatrick, 92 ; see 
also Banner, T. D. 

Beekly, A. L: Geology and Coal Re- 
sources of North Park, Colorado 
cited, 129, footnote 

Bell,, William: 283, footnote 

Belle Fourche River: 33 

Benton, Thomas Hart: 60, footnote, 
174, 177, 185, 281; interest in Santa 
Fe trade, 291 ; Speech in Senate 
cited, 67, footnote, 69, footnote, 88, 

Biddle, Thomas: 27, 173; Report cit- 
ed, 169, footnote, 170, footnote 

Bidwell, John : First Emigrant Train 
to California cited, 193, footnote 

Big Cheyenne River: 33 

Big Creek: Smith near, 266, footnote; 
crosses, 267, footnote 

Big Gray's River: 101 

Big Horn Basin: 283, footnote 

Big Horn Mountains: 19, 160, 285 

Big Horn River: 18, 28, 32, 33, 34, 
footnote, 35, footnote, 45, 54, foot- 
note, 87, footnote, 88, 89, 90, 94, 
98, footnote, 107, footnote, 114, 134, 
*39> footnote, 156, 160, footnote, 
182, 183, 284, 285, 287, 288 

Big Laramie River: see Laramie Riv- 

Big Sandy River: 90, 135, footnote, 
136, footnote; see also Sandy River 

Big Thompson Creek: 127, footnote 

Bijou Creek: 125, footnote 

Billon, F. L: Annals of St. Louis cit- 
ed, 22, footnote; Annals of St. 
Louis in its Territorial Days cited, 
30, footnote 

Bitter Root Mountains: 18, 31, 99, 105 

Bitter Root River: 105 

Bitter Root Valley: 45 

Black, Arthur: sketch, 220, footnote; 
member of Smith's expedition 
(1826), 186, footnote; employed at 
San Gabriel, 210; in a brawl, 219; 
sent to Los Angeles, 223 ; accom- 


The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

panics Smith through California 
(1828), 237; re-engaged, 265; es- 
capes massacre on Umpqua, 196, 
270, footnote, 273-274, 274, foot- 
note; at Fort Vancouver, 274; ac- 
companies Smith from Fort Van- 
couver, 277; meets J. L. Meek, 284 

Black, Samuel: 306, footnote 

Black Bear's Lake: see Bear Lake 

Black Hills: 19, 33 

Black's Fork (of Green River) : 103, 
140, footnote, 153, footnote 

Blackfeet Lake: 44, 136, footnote 

Blackfoot Indians: 28, 30, 41, 45, 88, 
99, 109, 278, 285, 287, 288; defeat 
Missouri Fur Company, 32, 89, 109 ; 
hostilities to whites, 31, 56, 69, 89, 
98, 108, footnote, no, HI, 162, 278, 
279, 282, 285; attack Ashley, 159; 
proposed treaty with, 161, 162; at- 
tack Smith's party (1829) ; encoun- 
tered on road to Santa Fe, 299 

Blackfoot River: 44 

Blacksmith's Fork (of Logan River) : 
1 06 

Blacksmith's Fork (of Snake River) : 
96, footnote 

Blue Creek: 249, footnote 

Blue Mountains: 35 

Blue River: 19 

Boats: 112, 142, 145, 149, 230; steam- 
boat, Western Engineer, 57; keel- 
boats, 78, 112; Rocky Mountains, 
69; Yellowstone Packet, 69, 76, 77, 
78; mackinaw, 138; canoe, 35, 113, 
246, 247, 259, 262, 265, 266. 269; 
bull-boat, 113; used by Ashley to 
descend Green River, 138, 139, 140, 
142, 145, 149; Muskrat, 163; of 
skins constructed by Fitzpatrick, 92 

Bodaga: see Bodega 

Bodega [Bodaga] : 191 

Boggs, L: 176 

Bonadventure River: see Buenaven- 
tura River 

Bonafast, John Bartis: see Bonifacio, 
Juan Bautista 

Bondurant (Wyo.) : 34 

Bonifacio, Juan Bautista: at San Ga- 
briel, 204; sketch, 204, footnote 

Bonner, T. D: Life and Adventures 
of James P. Beckwourth cited in 
footnotes on following pages, 93, 
117, 118, 121, 125, 134, 135, 138, 
139, 141, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 
163, 164, 165, 166, 168, 184 

Bonneville, Captain B. L. E: 167, 
footnote, 302 

Boone County (Mo.) : 177, footnote 

Boone's Lick Road: 294 

Booneville (Mo.) : 177 

Bovey's Fork (of Big Horn River) : 
Smith's disaster on, 287 

Bowman, Joaquin: 187, footnote 

Box-elder: 136 

Boxelder County (Utah) : 106 

Brackenridge, H. M: Views of Louis- 
iana cited, 27, footnote, 28, foot- 
note, 31, footnote, 32, footnote, 34, 
footnote, 155, footnote 

Bradbury, John: Travels In Interior 
of America cited, 29, footnote 

Bradshaw, John: 221, footnote 

Bridgeport (Utah) : 144, footnote 

Bridger, James: 17, 59, 93, footnote, 
116, 160, footnote, 285, footnote, 
287; in employ of Ashley and 
Henry, 68, 86; companion of Hugh 
Glass, 87, footnote; with Ashley's 
men (1824), 95; examines Great 
Salt Lake, 104, 106, 154, footnote, 
158, footnote; descends Bighorn 
River, 160, footnote; leads party 
of Ashley's men (1825-1826), 166; 
with Smith, 287 ; buys interest in 
fur trade, 288 ; see Fitzpatrick, 
Sublette, and Bridger 

Bridger's Pass: 133, footnote 

British Exploration: in general, 40, 
41, 51; see Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany; Northwest Fur Company; 
Ogden, Peter Skene; Thompson, 

Brown, (boatswain) : member of 



Smith's expedition to California 
(1827), 229 

Brown's Hole: 143, footnote, 144, 
footnote, 146, footnote 

Bryant, William: What I Saw in 
California, cited, 217, footnote 

Buenaventura [Bonadventure] Riv- 
er: 102, 103, 152, 153, footnote, 
165, 171, footnote; in California, 
193, footnote, 236, 237, 306 

Buenavista Lake: 211, footnote 

Buffalo: 121, footnote, .124, 129, 131, 
141, 146, 155, footnote, 158, 187; 
robes, 123 

Buffalo Snake Indians: 44, footnote 

Bull-boat: see Boats, bull-boats 

Burnt Ranch (Calif.): Smith's camp 
near, 238, footnote, 240, footnote 

Burnt River: Ogden on, 48 

Burpee, L. J: Journal de Larocque 
cited, 26, footnote, 28, footnote, 54, 


Cache la Poudre River: 129, foot- 
note; Ashley on, 127, footnote 

Cache [Willow] Valley: 171, 282; 
Ashley's men in (1825-1826), 103, 
104, 105, 106, 139, footnote, 158, 
footnote, 166, 167, footnote 

Cachupin, Tomas Veles: 54, 150, 

Cajon Pass: 190, footnote 

Caldronn Linn: 35; overland As- 
torians at, 37 

California: 20, 42, 50, 53, n6, 145, 
footnote, 155, footnote, 165, foot- 
note, 186, 195, 199, footnote, 213, 
footnote, 216, footnote, 229, 284, 
294; Smith in (1826-1827), 14, 172, 
183, 190 ff, 194, 306 (1827-1828), 
231, 233-261 

Camas root: 256-257, 260 

Campbell, Robert: 92, 104, 118, foot- 
note, 158, footnote* 167, footnote, 
280, footnote; in employ of Smith, 
Jackson, and Sublette, 282 ; starts 

for Blackfoot country (1828), 282 

Campbell, William: member of 
Smith's expedition to California 
(1827), 229 

Campbell's Creek: Smith crosses, 
238, footnote 

Canada: 18, 87 

Canadian River: 124, footnote 

Cannon Ball River: 71, footnote 

Canoe: see Boats, canoes 

Canon of Lodore: 144, footnote, 146, 

Canton: fur market, 42 

Cape Arago: Smith's camp near, 266, 

Carey, M: General Atlas cited, 102, 
footnote, 153, footnote, 154, footnote 

Carson, Moses B. (?): in Arikara 
campaign, 79 

Cartography: of west, 23, 24, foot- 
note, 25, 54, 102, footnote, 153, 
footnote, 154, footnote, 155, foot- 
note, 193, footnote, 194, footnote ; 
Ashley's contributions to, 150, 305- 
306; Smith's contributions to, 155, 
footnote, 302 ff. ; see also Maps 

Casualty List furnished by John 
Dougherty: cited, 187, footnote 

Casualty List furnished by Smith, 
Jackson, and Sublette: cited, in 
footnotes on folloiving pages, 69, 
80, 88, 93, 94, 103, 187, 230, 266, 
273, 277 

Catapos: 267 

Cave Creek: 60 

Cedar: 152, 249, 257, 260, 263 

Cedar Island: 32 

Central Missouri Drainage Area: 
307; defined, 18, 19, 20, 21 

Cerre and Chouteau (fur traders): 
56, footnote 

Chabonard, : 125, footnote 

Chadwick, (Santa Fe trader) : 295 

Chaui: see Pawnee Indians 

Chamberlain (S. Dak.) : 32, 163 

Chambers, Samuel (Santa Fe trad- 
er) : 291 


The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Chambersburg (S. Dak.) : 78, foot- 

Chapman, Joseph: sketch, 216, foot- 
note; at San Gabriel Mission, 216, 
218, 223 

Chase, J. S: California Coast Trails 
cited, 256, footnote, 258, footnote 

Chenango County (N. Y.) : residence 
of Smith, 179 

Cherry Creek: see Pawnee Creek 

Chetco Indians: 261, footnote 

Chetcoe River: Smith's camp on, 261, 

Cheyenne River: 77, 79, footnote, 182 

Chihuaha: 87; mines of, 54 

Chillule Indians: encountered by 
Smith, 243, footnote, 244, footnote 

Chinook jargon: 266, 269 

Chittenden, H. M: 40, footnote; His- 
tory of American Fur Trade of 
Far West, cited in footnotes on 
following pages, 13, 27, 28, 30, 31, 

33, 37, 38, 39, 56, 58, 59, 6, 67, 
68, 77, 78, 80, 83, 84, 85, 87, 90, 
91, 93, 102, 107, 108, in, 112, 113, 
144, 151, 152, 153, 155, 156, 168, 
171, 172, 181, 274, 276, 291, 292; 
History of early Steamboat Navi- 
gation on the Missouri River cited, 
113, footnote; Map of Trans-Mis- 
sissippi Territory, accompanying 
History of American Fur Trade, 
reference, 192, footnote; cited, 187, 
footnote; Yellowstone National 
Park: cited, 278, footnote 

Chouteau, Auguste (fur trader) : 30 

Chouteau, Pierre (fur trader) : 29, 

Chouteau and Co. (fur traders) : 56, 

Chouteau family: interests, 24, 29, 


Chouteau's Island: 292 
Christ Jesus: 214, 215 
Christy, Eliza (Ashley's first wife) : 

177, footnote 
Cimarron River: 292, 295, 298, 299 

Clapperton, Hugh: 307 

Clark, William: 30, 186, 229; map, 
25, 28 ; see also Lewis and Clark 

Clark's Fork (of Columbia) : 19, 43, 
51, 52, 157; explored by David 
Thompson, 41 ; trapped by Smith, 


Clark's Fork (of Yellowstone) : 
trapped by Smith, 287 

Clarke (Neb.) : 119, footnote 

Clarke, S. A: Pioneer Days of Ore- 
gon History cited, 270, footnote, 
273, footnote, 274, footnote, 275, 
footnote, 276, footnote 

Clay County (Mo.) : 173, footnote 

Claymore, Antoine: 139, footnote 

Clearwater River: 35 

Clement, David: 139, footnote 

Clement, : 138, footnote 

Clover: 249, 254, 256, 259, 263 

Coast Range: 20, 25 

Collins, John: killed by Arikara In- 
dians, 74, footnote 

Colorado Drainage Area: 19, 20, 21, 
53 ; defined, 20 

Colorado River [Rio Colorado, 
Seedskedee, Siskadee, Suchadee], 
[Spanish] : 14, 21, 34, 96, footnote, 
102, 134, 151, footnote, 152, 155, 
footnote, 156, footnote, 157, 190, 
footnote, 278, 302, 305 ; Ashley- 
Henry men on, 151; descended by 
Smith (1826), 14, 189-190, 197, 
footnote, 306 ; described by Smith, 
189; Smith on (1827), 230; massa- 
cre of Smith's men, 230, 231 

Colorado (state) : 19, 53, 116, 127, 
footnote, 185 

Colter, John: explorations, 17, 27, 28, 
29, 34, % 52; route, 28, 35; guide, 
28, footnote 

Colter's River: 35, 102, footnote 

Columbia Drainage Area: 20, 21, 
25, 33, 5. 53, oi, 307; defined, 
19, 20; exploration, 51, 52, 100; 
trapped by Smith, 92 

Columbia Fur Company: 58, in 



Columbia River [River of West] : 
14, 18, 21, 25, 28, 37, 42, 51, 101, 
105, footnote, 109, 1 1 6, 154, 155, 
footnote, 157, 183, 185, 229, 232, 
272, 283, 302 ; overland Astorians 
on, 35 ; explored by David Thomp- 
son, 41 ; Ogden on, 48 ; Cascades, 


Comanche Indians: 54, 150, footnote, 
156, footnote, 299; slay Smith, 298- 

Compagnie de Comerce pour Decou- 
verte des Nations du Haut du Mis- 
souri: 22, 26; explorations, 23, 24 

Campania Extranjera de Monterey: 
204, footnote, 219, footnote, 234, 

Connecticut: 62 

Conrad, H. L: Uncle Dick Wootton 
cited, 139, footnote 

Cooke, P. St. George : Scenes and Ad- 
ventures in Army cited, 86, foot- 
note, 87, footnote 

Cooke Creek: 131, footnote 

Cooper, Braxton (Santa Fe trader) : 

Cooper, John Rogers: 234; sketch, 
234, footnote; becomes account- 
able for Smith, 234-235 

Cooper (Colo.) : 125, footnote 

Coos Bay: Smith on, 268, footnote 

Coos Indians: 267, footnote 

Coos River: Smith crosses, 268, foot- 

Coquille River: Smith crosses, 266, 

Cordillera Mountains: 25, 31, 51, 56, 
ico ; see also Rocky Mountains 

Corn: 189 

Cotton: 293; cultivated by Mohave 
Indians, 189 

Cottonwood [populus angulata and 
p. angustifolia']: 119, 125, 126, 127, 
130, 136, 137, 138, 146 

Coues, Elliott: Expedition of Zebulon 
Montgomery Pike cited, 120, foot- 
note; Forty Years a Fur Trader 

cited, 40, footnote, 291, footnote; 
New Light on Great Northwest, 
Henry-Thompson Journals cited, 
38, footnote, 39, footnote; quoted, 
39 ; Original Journals of Lewis and 
Clark Expeditions cited, 25, foot- 

Council Bluffs: 57, 76, 118, foot- 
note, 162, 164 

Coureurs de hois: 21 

Coyner, D. H: Lost Trappers cited, 
35, footnote, 36, footnote 

Craig, : 285, footnote 

Crater Lake: 49 

Crescent City: 255, footnote, 256, 

Cronise, T. F: Natural Wealth of 
California cited, 213, footnote, 232, 

Crook County (Oregon) : 47 

Crooked River: Ogden on, 48 

Crooks, Ramsay: heads division of 
overland (west-bound) Astorians, 
35; with overland (east-bound) 
Astorians, 37, 109; mentioned, 35; 
letter of, 40 

Crooks Mss: cited, 171, footnote 

Crow Indians: 28, footnote, 34, 69, 
footnote, 88, 89, 99, no, 285, foot- 
note; depredations of, 134, 159; 
Colter's expedition to, 27, 28 ; en- 
countered by Ashley, 134, 135, 157, 
159; country of, 33, 36, footnote, 
54, 182 

Cunningham, David: member of 
Smith's expedition to California 
(1827): 229 

Cunningham, Charles: in Ankara 
campaign, 79 

Cunningham, W. H: 217; sketch, 207, 
footnote; befriends Smith, 190-191; 
at San Gabriel, 207, 208, 221, 222; 
signs testimonial to Smith's char- 
acter, 213, footnote; letter, 163, 
footnote, 217, footnote, 218, foot- 

Currants: 245 


The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Custer County (Idaho) : 97 


Daily National Intelligencer: cited, 
104, footnote 

Dale, H. C: Did returning Astorians 
use South Pass cited, 40, footnote 

Dana, William G: 213, footnote 

Darby, William: Map of United 
States cited, 102, footnote, 153, 

Davis, W. R. and D. S. Durrie: Il- 
lustrated History of Missouri cited, 
63, footnote, 172, footnote, 173, 
footnote, 176, footnote 

Daws, Thomas: member of Smith's 
expedition to California (1827), 
229 ; accompanied Smith through 
California (1828), 237; reengaged, 
26 S 

Day, John: 35, 59 

Dearborn buggies: 288 

Dears, : 105, footnote 

De Bow, James: Industrial Resources, 
etc: cited, 58, footnote, 163, foot- 

Decharle, : killed by Indians, 88, 

Deer: 121, footnote, 129, 191, 239, 242, 
247, 248, 259, 262, 263, 264, 

Dellenbaugh, F. S: Canyon Voyage 
cited, 141, footnote, 142, footnote, 
145, footnote, 146, footnote, 149, 
footnote; Romance of Colorado cit- 
ed, 142, footnote, 143, footnote, 144, 
footnote, 151, footnote 

Del Norte County (Calif.) : Smith in, 
251, footnote 

Democratic Herald: 276, footnote 

Departmental Records, Ms: refer- 
ences, 192, footnote, 219, footnote, 
227, footnote, 232, footnote, 233, 

Deramme, Francis: member of Smith's 
expedition to California (1827), 

Deschutes River [River of the Falls] : 
Ogden on, 47, 48 

Desolation Canyon: Ashley in, 150, 

Devil's Gate: 223, footnote 

Dickson, : 27 

Disaster Falls: Ashley at, 145, foot- 

Diseases: in mountains, 137 

Dodge, G. M: Biographical Sketch 
of James Bridger cited, 93, foot- 
note, 94, footnote 

Dodge, Henry: 173; Report of Expe- 
dition with Dragodns to Rocky 
Mountains in Summer of 1835 cit- 
ed, 124, footnote 

Dodges, Thomas: 221 

Dominguez and Escalante: 53, foot- 
note, 153, footnote, 156, footnote; 
route, 150, footnote, 152, footnote 

Dougherty, John: work cited, 187, 

Douglas, W. B: Manuel Lisa cited, 
22, footnote, 24, footnote, 29, foot- 
note, 33, footnote 

Drain (Ore.) : 271, footnote 

Drainage areas: 18 ff., 21 

Drips, Andrew: 118, footnote, 152, 
footnote; with Missouri Fur Com- 
pany, 32 

Drouillard, George: 27; killed, 30 

Duchesne River: ascended by Ashley, 
152, footnote, 158, footnote 

Duck: 121, footnote 

Dufier, Auguste: wounded by Arikara 
Indians, 74, footnote 

Duran, Padre: at San Jose, 231; let- 
ter from Smith, 232 

Du Tisne: 21 

Durton Creek: 131, footnote 

EARTHQUAKES: evidence in Oregon, 

Echeandia, Jose Maria de: sketch, 
199, footnote; reference, 233, foot- 
note; attitude to Smith, 212, foot- 
note, 213, footnote; orders to Smith, 



232-233 ; receives Smith in Monte- 
rey, 233; mentioned, 194, 195, 217, 
footnote, 231, footnote 

Echo Canon: 165, footnote 

Echo Park: Ashley in, 146, footnote 

Edwards, Henry: 210, footnote, 211, 
212, footnote 

Edwards, R. and M. Hopewell: Ed- 
wards'* Great West cited, 63, foot- 
note, 74, footnote, 89, footnote, 172, 
footnote, 176, footnote 

Eels: 240, 247, 253, 259, 271 

Eel Creek: Smith crosses, 269, foot- 

Elder (Cal.) : Smith's camp near, 240, 

Elk: 121, footnote, 150, 191, 242, 243, 
250, 253, 254, 256, 257, 259, 260, 
262, 264, 266, 267, 271 

Elk Creek: 271, footnote 

Elk Mountain: 132, footnote 

Elliott, T. C: "Journal of Alexander 
Ross, 1824," cited, 30, footnote', 
Journals of Peter Skene Ogden, 
1825-1829 cited in footnotes on fol- 
lowing pages, 48, 49, 50, 106, 108, 
167, 168, 169, 170, 172, 276, 277, 
280, 281, 282; Peter Skene Ogden 
cited, 105, footnote, 107, footnote 

Empire (Ore.) : 269, footnote 

Epiphany: observed at San Gabriel, 

Erie (Pa.) : residence of Smith, 179 

Escalante, S. V. de: see Dominguez 
and Es-alante 

Eustis Lake: 29, footnote, 35, footnote 

Eutau [Eutaw] Indians: see Ute In- 

Evans, John [Juan] : 23 ; maps, 23, 
24, footnote 

Evans, Robert: member of Smith's 
expedition to California (1826), 
187, footnote, 218 

Eyries [J. B.], [P. F.] de Larenau- 
diere, et [J. H.] Klaproth: Nou- 
velles Annales des Voyages cited, 
1 8 6, footnote 

FACES, PEDRO: 211, footnote 

Falls of St. Anthony: 57 

Farrahoots Indians: 227 

Fenneman, N. M: Physiographic 
Boundaries within United States 
cited, 101, footnote 

Ferguson, Daniel: sketch, 219, foot- 
note; member of Smith's expedi- 
tion (1826), 187, footnote; in 
brawl, 219; abandons Smith's 
party, 226 

Ferguson, Joseph Daniel: 219, foot- 

Ferris, W. A: Life in Rocky Moun- 
tains cited, 278, footnote 

Ferris Mountains: 133, footnote 

Filage, George: killed by Arikara In- 
dians, 74, footnote 

Finley, Anthony: New and General 
Atlas cited, 153, footnote 

Fitzgerald, : 86, footnote, 87, foot- 

Fitzpatrick, Thomas: 93, 102, foot- 
note, 112, 285, footnote, 296, 297, 
298 ; employee of Ashley and 
Henry, 68, 86, 88; in Arikara cam- 
paign, 79 ; navigates Sweetwater 
and North Platte, 92, 115, 117, foot- 
note, 159, footnote; in South Pass, 
&9 91. 93> *6o, footnote, 183 ; com- 
mands party of Ashley's men, 91 ff., 
138, footnote, 166; buys interest in 
fur trade, 288 ; joins expedition to 
Santa Fe, 294; see also Fitzpatrick, 
Sublette, and Bridger 

Fitzpatrick, Sublette, and Bridger: 
firm of, 169, 170, 288 ; note paya- 
ble to Smith, Jackson, and Sub- 
lette, 288, footnote, 299-300 

Flag Lake: 191, footnote 

Flaming Gorge Canyon: Ashley in, 
141, footnote 

Flathead House: 104, 105, footnote; 
arrival of Alexander Ross, 98, 183, 
185; Ogden at, 98, 185; Smith at, 
98, 158, footnote, 183, 185, 277, 302, 


The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Flathead Indians: 41, no, 282, 302, 

Flathead Mountains: 18, 31 

Flathead River: 30 

Fleming, : in Arikara campaign, 79 

Floras Creek: Smith's camp near, 264, 

Flournoy, : in Santa Fe trade, 295 

Fontenelle, Lucius: 118, footnote 

Fort Atkinson: 76, 77, 78, 87, foot- 
note, 89, 114, 156, footnote', arri- 
val of Fitzpatrick at, 92-93 ; Ash- 
ley sets out from, 115, 117, 118 

Fort Bonneville, 114 

Fort Brasseaux: 78, footnote 

Fort Caldwell: Smith at, 277 

Fort Charles (on Missouri) : 23, foot- 

Fort George: see Astoria 

Fort Kiowa: 87, footnote 

Fort Look-out: 163 

Fort Nez Perce : erected, 43 ; men- 
tioned, 47, 50 

Fort Oakanagan: 106; erected, 41 

Fort Osage: 68, 291 

Fort Recovery [Cedar Fort]: 78 

Fort Tilton :. 87, footnote 

Fort Union: 87, footnote, 107, footnote 

Fort Vancouver: 48, 50, 277, 284, 306, 
footnote ; Smith at, 14, 50, 274 ff. 

Fort York: 40 

Forts: see under Fur trade and names 
of several posts 

Fraeb, Henry: 284; buys interest in 
fur trade, 288 

Franklin, Sir John: 307 

Franklin (Mo.) : 291 

Fremont, J. C: 125, footnote; disaster 
at mouth of Sweetwater, 92; Re- 
port cited, 92, footnote, 120, foot- 
note, 125, footnote, 127, footnote, 
129, footnote, 131, footnote, 132, 
footnote, 156, footnote, 272, footnote 

Front Range: crossed by Ashley, 128, 
footnote, 129, footnote 

Fullerton (Neb.) : 119, footnote 

Fur trade: 17, 18, 21, 26, 40, 53, 56 ff., 

58, 60, 63, 64, footnote, 90, 91, 96, 
97, 107, 108, 157, 162, footnote, 168, 
169, 170, 181, 183, 184, 290, 293; 
methods of conducting, 22, 23, foot- 
note, 24, 26-27, 30, 32, 33, 42, 55 ff., 
64 ff., 107-108, 109 ff., 113-1x4, 139, 
184, 229; purchases and sales of 
fur, 48, 96-97, 98, footnote, 164-165, 
168, 276, 288, footnote', posts, 27, 
29, 30, 3. 32, 34. 41, 43, 45, 4, 
5, 55. 57, 67, 68, 78, 87, footnote, 
88, 98, 99, 106, in, 157, 183; from 
St. Louis, 22, 24, 29, 58, 68, 165, 
171, 181 

Fur traders: as explorers, 13, 17, 21, 
26-27, 31-32, 34 ff-, 41-42, 44, 47-48, 
49, 5, 5i 52-53, 87, 93, 99-100, 
104, 183 

GAITER, JOHN: member of Smith's ex- 
pedition to California (1826), 186, 
footnote; employed at San Gabriel, 
210; sent to Los Angeles, 223; ac- 
companies Smith through Califor- 
nia, 237, footnote, 238 ; wounds 
black bear, 254; reengaged, 265 

Galbraith, Isaac: sketch, 231, foot- 
note; member of Smith's expedition 
to California (1827), 229; left at 
San Gabriel, 231, footnote; men- 
tioned, 187, 230, footnote 

Gales [Joseph] and [W. W.] Sea- 
ton: Register of Debates cited, 174, 
footnote, 175, footnote, 176, foot- 

Gallatin, Albert: 177, 305; Synopsis 
of Indian Tribes of North Ameri- 
ca cited, 177, footnote, 188, foot- 
note, 193, footnote, 305, footnote; 
quoted, 305-306; Map (accompany- 
ing above) cited, 187, footnote, 193, 
footnote; reference, 190, footnote, 

Gallatin River: 18, 285; Colter on, 

Game: 118, 119, 121, footnote, 124, 

129, 141, 146, 150, 155, 188, 191, 



193, 2l8, 221, 239, 241, 242, 243, 
244, 248, 251, 254, 256, 257, 259, 

260, 262, 263, 266; see also Ante- 
lope, Bear, Buffalo, Deer, Elk, etc. 

Gardner, John S: killed by Arikara 
Indians, 74, footnote 

Gardner, Johnson: 106, 107, 108 

Garrison, G. P: Texas cited, 62, 

Gass, Patrick: Journal cited, 27, foot- 

Geographic discovery: 13, 17, 26; 
progress, 13, 21, 22, 31, 33, 37, 
51 ff., 109; of Astorians, 35, 36; of 
Ashley and Smith, 17, 18, 21, 99- 
100, 302-303 

Georgetown (Idaho) : 44, footnote 

Gervais, Baptiste: 284; buys interest 
in fur trade, 288 

Geysers: in Yellowstone National 
Park, 278-279 

Gibson, Reed: wounded by Arikara 
Indians: 74, footnote 

Gila [Gild] River: 190 

Gild River: see Gila River 

Glass, Hugh: 89, 107, footnote; 
wounded by Arikara Indians, 74, 
footnote; member of Ashley's ex- 
pedition (1823), 86; adventures of, 
86, footnote, 87, footnote, 88 

Glenn, Hugh (Santa Fe trader) : 291 

Goat Island: 92 

Gobel, Silas: 228; member of Smith's 
expedition to California (1826), 
186, footnote; employed at San Ga- 
briel, 204; returns to Salt Lake 
with Smith, 228 ; member of Smith's 
expedition to California (1827), 229 

Goddard, P. E: Life and Culture of 
Hupa cited, 241, footnote 

Gooseberry: 245 

Gordon, William (?): in Arikara 
campaign, 79 ; Report cited, 94, 
footnote, 156, footnote 

Grand Island: 120, footnote, 121, foot- 

Grand Portage: 40 

Grand River: 33, 71, footnote, 86 

Grand River (tributary of Colora- 
do) : 156, footnote 

Grand Tetons: 34, 35, 96, footnote, 
97, loo 

Grant, Seth: employee of Ashley, 86 

Gratiot, Henry: 177 

Gray, Mrs. Benjamin F: grand-niece 
of Ashley, 196 

Great Bend (of Missouri) : 21 

Great Divide Basin: 133, footnote 

Great Falls (of Missouri) : fur trad- 
ers at, 30; mentioned, 89, footnote, 

Great Salt Lake [Salt Lake, Lake 
Buenaventura, Lake Timpanogos] : 
14, 37, 46, 51, 52, 94, footnote, xoi, 
103, 104, 105, 106, 116, 139, foot- 
note, 153, footnote, 155, footnote, 
158, 166, 167, footnote, 171, 172, 
181, footnote, 183, 187, footnote, 
194, 203, footnote, 232, 283, 305, 
307; region of, 33, 106, 116, 184, 
186; discovery, 46-47, 104; rendez- 
vous of Ashley's men, 165, 168; 
explored by Smith, 105, 158; trad- 
ing post at, 168, footnote, 280, 281; 
Smith at, 14, 193, 228 ; see also In- 
terior Basin 

Green Mountains: 133, footnote 

Green River: 21, 51, 52, 93, 94, 95, 
101, 102, 103, 112, 113, footnote, 
114, 136, footnote, 146, footnote, 
150, footnote, 153, footnote, 156, 
footnote, 158, footnote, 165, 171, 
293; overland Astorians on, 34, 35, 
36, footnote, 38, footnote, 39, foot- 
note; Ashley-Henry operations on, 
90, 91, 92; Provot on, 94; Ashley, 
14, 183; descent by Ashley, 116, 
118, footnote, 139 ff.; trapped by 
Ashley's men, 100; "suck," 141, 
footnote, 157, footnote 

Gregg, Josiah: 291, 294; Commerce 
of Prairies cited in footnotes on fol- 
lowing pages, 181, 290, 291, 295, 
296, 297, 298, 299 


The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Grosvenor Library (Buffalo, N. Y.) : 


Gros Ventre Mountains: 18, 38, foot- 
notf, 134, footnote 

Gros Ventres Indians: 30, 88; en- 
countered on road to Santa Fe, 299 

Guinn, J. M: Captain Jedediah S. 
Smith cited, 192, footnote, 232, foot- 
note, 302, footnote 

Gulf of California: 20, 100, 116, 190; 
drainage area, see Colorado Drain- 
age Area 

Gulf of Mexico: 19, 101, 151, foot- 
note; drainage area, 20, 21; de- 
fined, 19 

Gunnison River: region of, 54, 156, 

HAGUE'S PEAK: 130, footnote 

Ham's Fork: 103 

Manna, John: 218; brief sketch, 218, 
footnote; member of Smith's ex- 
pedition to California (1826), 187, 
footnote; accompanies Smith 
through California, 237, footnote, 
238; kills deer, 256; reengaged, 265 

Hanover County (Va.) : 59, footnote 

Hares: 187 

Harney Lake: Ogden near, 48 

Harris, Moses: 165 

Harris, W. R: Catholic Church in 
Utah cited, 93, footnote, 150, foot- 

Hartnell [Harrwell], William Ed- 
ward Petty: 234; sketch, 234, foot- 

Hartwell: see Hartnell 

Hazel: 245, 257 

Heath, (Santa Fe trader) : 291 

Heddest, William: 156, footnote 

Hell's Half Mile: 146, footnote 

Hemlock: 257, 260, 267 

Henderson, William: signs testimon- 
ial to Smith's character, 213, foot- 

Henry, Andrew: 29, 32, 37, footnote, 
54, 7*i 83, 85, 90, 91, footnote, 92, 

footnote, 94, 102, footnote, 109, 112, 
footnote, 138, footnote, 139, foot- 
note, 182; member of Missouri Fur 
Company, 30, 61 ; explorations, 31, 
35, 41, 52; post on Henry's Fork, 
31, 32, 34, 37, 5*; at Potosi, 6iff.; 
enters business with Ashley, 63 ff. ; 
in command of Ashley-Henry ex- 
pedition, 68 ff.; in Arikara cam- 
pagn, 69, 77, 79, footnote; disas- 
ter (1823), 88, 113; withdraws 
from fur trade, 90, 91, footnote; 
said to have sold out to Smith, 91 

Henry's Fork: 31, 44, footnote, 101, 
112, footnote, 139, footnote, 140, 
footnote, 142, footnote, 157, foot- 
note, 278, 284 

Hines, Gustavus: Oregon cited, 272, 
footnote, 273, footnote, 274, foot- 
note, 276, footnote 

History of Franklin, Jefferson, Wash- 
ington, Crawford, and Gasconade 
Counties: cited, 62, footnote, 63, 

Hoback, John: 33, 34, 37, 59 

Hoback River: 37, footnote, 52, 96, 
footnote; overland Astorians on, 
34; descent by William Sublette, 

Holliday and Gibson (fur traders) : 

Hood, Washington: Original Draft 
of Report of Practicable Route for 
wheeled Vehicles across Mountains, 
Ms. cited, 96, footnote 

Hook, Theodore: 142, footnote 

Hoopa Mountains: Smith's camp on, 
240, footnote 

Horse Creek: 96, footnote 

Horses: 71, 113, 114, footnote, 121, 
123, 124, 125, "30, 133, 134, 135, 
137, 57 '59, i", 192, 93, "4t 
225, 226, 276, 279, 281, 282, 285, 
a86, 287, 291, 296, 297, 298, 299; 
killed for food, 119, 253, 301; pur- 
chased by Smith in California, 223, 
228; Smith's, 238, 239, 240, 241, 



242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 248, 249, 
250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 

257, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 
266, 267, 268, 269, 271 ; killed by 
Indians, 245, 262, 268 

Horseshoe Canyon: Ashley in, 141, 

Houghton, E.P.D: Donner Party and 
its tragic Fate cited, 277, footnote 

Howard, David: killed by Ankara 
Indians, 74, footnote 

Howes, : Hudson's Bay Company 
employee, 30, 52 

Hudson's Bay: 40 

Hudson's Bay Fur Co: 40, 48, 57, 
footnote, 96, 152, footnote, 154, 157, 
159, footnote, 167, 170, 185; oper- 
ations, 23, footnote, 30, 40, 51, 52, 
96, 170; deserters from, 48, 107-108, 
108, footnote, 154, 156, 167; busi- 
ness methods, 67; compete with 
Fitzpatrick, Sublette, and Bridger, 
170; attitude toward Americans, 
48, 97, 99, >7, 152, footnote, 170, 
274 ff., 280, 282 ; see also North- 
west Fur Co. 

Humboldt, Alexander von : 305 ; Po- 
litical Essay on Kingdom of New 
Spain cited, 53, footnote, 150, foot- 

Humboldt River: 21, 50 

Humbug Mountain: crossed by Smith, 
264, footnote 

Hunt, W. P: 33, 35, 36, footnote 

Hunter, John: Memoir of Captivity 
among Indians of North America: 
quoted, 115; cited, 115, footnote 

Hupa Indians: 240, footnote, 243, 
footnote, 258, footnote; culture of, 
247, footnote 

IDAHO: 43, footnote, 44, 45, 53, 103, 
105, footnote 

Illustrated History of Southern Cali- 
fornia: cited, 226, footnote 

Immell [Michael ?] : 69, 77 

Inconstant River: 190, footnote 

Independence (Mo.): 294, 295 
Indians: 22, 36, footnote, 40, 42, 43, 
49-50, 54, 64, 67, 88, 89, 96 ff., 99, 

107, 114, Il8, I2O, 121, 122-123, 
125, 126, 127-128, 144, 150-151, 152, 

I 54 X 57 161, !62, !87, 188-189, I 9 I , 
93, 195, 196, 232, 235, 275, 280, 
292; hostilities, 28, 30-31, 32, 41, 
42, 45, 56, 69, 70, 72-85, 87, foot- 
note, 89, 103, 109, in, 124, 159, 
181-182, 194, 230-231, 244, 261, 273- 
274, 295, 298-299; depredations, 37, 
91, 96, no, i34-35, 157, 159, 166, 
190, 252, 253, 255, 258, 262, 270; 
policy of U. S., 56-57, 174-175; in 
California and Oregon encounter- 
ed by Smith, 198, 203, 205, 206, 
208, 209, 211, 212, 216, 217, 219, 
220, 225, 232, 233, 238, 240, 241, 
244, 245, 246 ff., 250 ff., 256, 258 ff., 
265, 266 ff., 271, 272-273 ; see also 
under names of several tribes 

Indian Scalp River: see Trinity Riv- 
er and Klamath River 

Indian traders: as explorers, 17 

Interior Basin: 21, 46, 52, 55, 95, 96, 
101, 103, 114, 116, 117, 167, 283, 
307; defined, 20; exploration of, 
5 x -5 2 , 53, 94, too; by Astorians, 
37; by Donald M'Kenzie, 44; route 
via, 13; Ashley in, 108, 152, 165, 
168; Smith, Jackson, and Sublette 
operations in, 170, 277; see also 
Great Salt Lake 

Iroquois Indians: 96, 107; as hunters, 
45, 97 

Irving, Washington: 37; Astoria cit- 
ed, 34, footnote, 37, footnote, 38, 
footnote, 39, footnote; reference, 
39; Rocky Mountain Sketches, cit- 
ed, 167, footnote 

Island Park: 149, footnote 

JACKSON, DAVID E: 104, footnote, 229, 
284, 288, footnote, 295, 297, foot- 
note, 366, footnote; employee of 
Ashley, 70, 86; in Ankara cam- 

The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

paign, 181 ; buys interest in fur 
trade, 168, 183; resident partner of 
firm of Smith, Jackson, and Sub- 
lette, 184, footnote, 293 ; at rendez- 
vous, 171; in Jackson's Hole, 284; 
in Snake country, 283, 287; starts 
for Santa Fe, 294; see also Smith, 
Jackson, and Sublette 

Jackson, George C: in Arikara cam- 
paign, 79 

Jackson County (Mo.) : 173, footnote 

Jackson's Fork: 96, footnote 

Jackson's Hole: 29, 96, footnote, 100; 
overland Astorians in, 35, 37, foot- 
note ; Wm. Sublette and D. . 
Jackson in, 284 

Jackson's Lake: 284 

Jackson's Little Hole: 96, footnote 

James, Edwin: Account of Expedi- 
tion from Pittsburg to Rocky 
Mountains (Long's Expedition) 
cited, 119, footnote, 120, footnote, 
122, footnote, 124, footnote, 125, 
footnote, 126, footnote 

James, Thomas: 36, footnote; em- 
ployed by Mo. Fur Co., 31; in San- 
ta Fe trade, 291 ; quoted, 28 ; Three 
Years among Indians and Mexi- 
cans, cited in footnotes on follow- 
ing pages, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 291 

James River: 163 

Jefferson, Thomas: interest in dis- 
covery, 23 

Jefferson City (Mo.) : 176 

Jefferson River: 18, 30 

Jerusalem: 214 

John Day's River: 47, 48 

Johnson Creek: Smith's camp near, 
265, footnote 

Jonah: 214 

Jones, George W: 173 

Jones, Robert: fur trader, 32, 69, 77 

Judith River: Smith on, 287 

Justin Martyr: 215 


Kalapoo [Callipoo] Indians: 196, 267, 

footnote; mentioned by Rogers, 271 
Kamas Prairie: 153, footnote 
Kansas City (Mo.): 21 
Kansas Historical Society: 14, 230, 
footnote; Mss., cited, 237, footnote 
Kansas River: 19, 21 
Kearney (Neb.): 120, footnote 
Kearny, Stephen Watts: accompa- 
nies Yellowstone Expedition, 162; 
Journal, Ms., cited, 159, footnote, 
160, footnote, 161, footnote, 162, 
footnote, 163, footnote, 164, foot- 

Keel-boat: see under Boats, keel-boats 
Keemle [Charles]: 89, footnote; with 

Mo. Fur Co., 89 

Kennerly, James: Journal Ms. cited, 
93, footnote, 117, footnote, 156, 
footnote, 291, footnote 
Kentucky: 59 
Kettle Falls: 277 

Kiawa Indians: see Kiovia Indians 
Killimour Indians: see Tillamook 

Kingfisher Canyon: Ashley in, 141, 


King's River: 191, footnote, 192, foot- 
Kiowa [Kiawa] Indians: 123, 124, 

footnote, 292 
Klamath Indians: 49 
Klamath Lake: 48, footnote 
Klamath [Indian Scalp] River: 50, 
247, footnote, 252; Ogden on and 
near, 48, 49, 51; Smith on and 
near, 248, footnote, 249, footnote, 
252, footnote 
Klamath River Lake: see Klamath 


Kolb, E. L: Through Grand Canyon 
from Wyoming to Mexico cited, 
140, footnote, 141, footnote, 142, 
footnote, 143, footnote, 145, foot- 
note, 149, footnote 
Kootenai [Kootenay] House: 41 
Kuitsch Indians: 268, footnote 
Kusan Indians: 267, footnote 




Lafayette, Marquis de: 172, footnote 

Lafayette County (Mo.) : 173, foot- 

La Harpe: 21 

Lake Biddle: 35, footnote 

Lake Buenaventura: see Great Salt 

Lake Earl: Smith's camp near, 257, 

Lake Riddle: 35, footnote 

Lake Timpanogos: 102, footnote, 153, 
I 55> footnote, 188, footnote, 193, 
footnote, 194, 305, 306; see also 
Great Salt Lake 

Lake Winnipeg: 40 

Lake Winnepegoosis: 40 

Laketown (Utah) : 186, footnote, 229 

Lam in e River: 177 

Lander ( Wyo.) : 18 

Lang, H. O: History of Willamette 
Valley cited, 277, footnote 

Laplant[e], Abraham: member of 
Smith's expedition (1826), 187, 
footnote, 229 ; accompanies Smith 
to San Pedro, 205 ; at San Bernar- 
dino, 228 ; accompanies Smith 
through California (1828), 237; re- 
engaged, 265 

Lapoint [Lepoint], Joseph: member 
of Smith's expedition to California 
(1827), 237, footnote; accompanies 
Smith through California, 237; as 
hunter, 256, 257, 259 

Laramie (Wyo.) : 130, footnote 

Laramic [Big Laramie, Little Lara- 
mie] River: 129, footnote, 130, 
footnote, 131, footnote 

Larocque, F. A: 17, 28, footnote, 54, 
footnote; see also Burpee, L. J. 
Journal de Larocque 

Larrison, Daniel: 74, footnote 

Larrison, John: wounded by Ankara 
Indians, 74, footnote 

Latham, R. G: On Languages of 
Northern, Western, and Central 
Americas cited, 227, footnote 

Latter Day Saints: Church of Jesus 
Christ, 300 

La Verendrye, Pierre Gaultier de 
Varennes de: 33 

Lavoisne, C. V: Atlas cited, 153, 
footnote, 155, footnote 

Lazarus, Manuel [Emanuel] : 218 ; 
member of Smith's expedition to 
California (1826), 187, footnote; 
accompanies Smith through Cali- 
fornia (1828), 237, footnote, 238; 
reengaged, 265 

Lead mining (in Missouri) : 62, 63 

Leavenworth, Col. Henry: in com- 
mand at Fort Atkinson, 76; sends 
help to Ashley, 77; in Arikara 
campaign, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 
86, footnote, 182 

LeClerc, : 93, 94, 95, 106 

Lemhi River: 45 

Lewis, Meriwether: 25, 30; map, 25 

Lewis, Reuben (fur-trader) : 30 

Lewis and Clark: 17, 23, 25, 27, 29, 
3, 35, 4*. 59, 99, , 109, no, 
112, 124, footnote, 130, footnote, 
307 ; expedition of, 25, 26 ; route 
of, 30, 35, 45, 5i, >5, "6; dis- 
coveries of, 25, 52, 183 ; see also 
Clark, Wm. and Levns, Merivjeth- 

Lewis Fork (of Columbia) : see Snake 

Lewis River: see Snake River 

Lexington (Mo.) : 172, 294 

Library of Congress: 14, 53, footnote 

Linn, Dr. James: 174 

Lisa, Manuel: 24, 26, 30, 55, 60; ca- 
reer, 24 ; as fur trader, 29 ; methods 
of trade, 27, 30, 64; expeditions, 
26, 36, footnote; posts of, 27, 28, 
34, footnote; discoveries of, 26; 
death, 32; character, 29, footnote 

Little Big Horn River: 18 

Little Lake: see Bear Lake 

Little Laramie River: see Laramie 

Little Missouri River: 18 


The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Little Popo Agic River: 160, footnote 
Little Soldier (Arikara chief) : 74, 82 
Little Uta Lake: see Utah Lake 
Lodore, Canon of: see Canon of Lo- 


Logan, Ephraim: 283, footnote 
Logan County (Colo.) : 125, footnote 
Logan River: 106 

Long, Stephen H: 54-55, 127, foot- 
note; explorations, 53, 58, foot- 
note; route, 119, footnote, 120, foot- 
note, 125, footnote 
Long's Peak: 127, 130, footnote 
Los Angeles: Smith and Rogers at, 
198, footnote, 204, footnote, 219, 
footnote, 222, footnote 
Lost River: 188, footnote, 306 
Louisiana: transfer to U.S., 24 
Loup Fork (of Platte) : 119, 121, 

Lower Mississippi Drainage Area: 

19, 20, 21 ; defined, 19 
Lyman, H. S: History of Oregon cit- 
ed, 162, footnote, 163, footnote 

McCLAiN, DAVID: wounded by Ari- 
kara Indians, 74, footnote 

McClellan, Robert: 37 

McCoy, Martin: member of Smith's 
expedition to California (1826), 
187, footnote; accompanies Smith 
through California, 237, footnote, 
238; as hunter, 218, 221, 257; re- 
engaged, 265 

McCoy Ma: cited, 177, footnote 

McDaniel, James: killed by Arikara 
Indians, 74, footnote 

McDonald, Angus: in Arikara cam- 
paign, 79 

M'Donald, Finan: 44, 48, footnote, 

49, 5* 

Mackay, James: 23; maps, 23, 24, 

footnote; explorations, 23 
McKay, Thomas: 48, footnote, 49, 

50, 51 ; commands expedition to re- 
cover Smith's furs, 275-276 

M'Kenzie, Donald: 42, 47, 136, foot- 

note; overland Astorian, 35; Snake 
country expeditions, 42 ff., 51, 52 

Mackinaw boats: see under Boats, 
Mackinavj boats 

McKnight, James (Santa Fe trader) : 

McLaughlin, Dr. John: 270, footnote, 
272, footnote, 284; helps Smith re- 
cover his furs, 275-276 

McLeod, Alexander: 277 

Macomb, A: 177 

Madison River: 18, 31, 284 

Malade River: 47, 106, 154, footnote 

Malheur River: 48 

Mallet: 21 

Mandan Indians: 40, 69, footnote, 
87, footnote, 88 ; villages, 23, 24, 
32, 57, 85, 93, noy 161 

Manly, W. L: 143 footnote; Death 
Valley in 1849 cited, 143, footnote, 
145, footnote 

Manso, Joseph: wounded by Arikara 
Indians, 74, footnote 

Maps: in general, 25, 33, footnote, 
54, 101, footnote, 102, footnote, 135, 
footnote, 200; frontispiece, 18, 
footnote; Ashley's, 117, footnote, 
150; Carey's, 102, footnote, 153, 
footnote, 154, footnote; Chitten- 
den's, 187, footnote, 192, footnote; 
Darby's, 102, footnote, 153, foot- 
note; Evans's, 23, 24, footnote; 
Finley's, 153, footnote; Fremont's, 
127, footnote, 146, footnote; Gal- 
latin's, 187, footnote, 190, footnote, 
193, footnote, 305 ; Geological Sur- 
vey, in footnotes on folloiving pag- 
es, 132, 142, 189, 193, 225, 263, 265; 
"King Survey," 127, footnote; La- 
voisne's, 153, footnote, 155, foot- 
note; Lewis and Clark's, 25, 28, 
35; Mackay's, 23, 24, footnote; Me- 
lish's, 102, footnote, 153, footnote, 
154, footnote; Miera's, 53, foot- 
note; Military Department of 
Platte, 133, footnote; of Spanish 
North America, 53, footno-te; 



Parker's, 155, footnote, 270, foot- 
note, 306 ; Richman's, 187, foot- 
note, 192, footnote, 193, footnote; 
Rogers's, 203 ; see also Cartogra- 
phy and under names of various 
map makers 

Marion (Indian boy) : joins Smith's 
expedition; 232, footnote, 266, foot- 

Marishall, Toussaint: member of 
Smith's expedition to California 
(1827), 229; accompanies Smith 
through California, 237, footnote, 
238; member exploring detachment, 
241-242; as hunter, 242, 259; re- 
engaged, 265 ; captures Indian boy, 

Marshall, : employee of Ashley, 95, 

Martinez, Francisco: 211, footnote', 
sketch, 205, footnote, 206, footnote; 
visited by Smith, 205 ; at San Ga- 
briel, 207 

Martinez, Ignacio: in command at 
San Francisco, 233, footnote 

Mary's River: see Yampah River 

Masiori River: see Missouri River 

Matthews, John: killed by Ankara 
Indians, 74, footnote 

Maximilian [Prince of Wied] : Trav- 
els in North America cited, 87, 
footnote, 107, footnote, 170, foot- 

Meade, William: Old Churches, Min- 
isters, and Families of Virginia 
cited, 59, footnote 

Medicine Bow Mountains: 129, foot- 
note, 131, footnote, 132, footnote; 
crossed by Ashley, 132, footnote 

Medicine Bow River: 131, footnote, 
132, footnote 

Meek, Joseph L: 285, footnote; meets 
Smith and Arthur Black, 284 

Melish, John: Map of United States 
with contiguous British and Span- 
ish Possessions cited, 102, footnote, 
153, footnote, 154, footnote 

Menard, Pierre: letter to Pierre 
Chouteau, cited, 31, footnote 

Mendon Ridge: 106 

Mendoza, Maria F: 227, footnote 

Merced River: suggested as Smith's 
route (1827), 192, footnote 

Merton, : slain on road to Santa 
Fe, 295 

Mexicans: government attitude to- 
ward Smith, 190, 211, 217, 231 ff.; 
in Santa Fe trade, 211, footnote, 

Mexico: 20, 235, 294 

Michigan Territory: 173 

Miera, Dn. Bernardo de: Piano aeo- 
arafico de la tiera descubierta y 
demarcada cited, 53, footnote 

Milanawa Indians: 69, footnote 

Milk River: 18 

Miller, Jacob: wounded by Ankara 
Indians, 74, footnote 

Miller, John: encountered by return- 
ing Astorians, 37, 38, 52; killed by 
Arikara Indians, 74, footnote 

Miller's River: 38 

Mine a Burton: 61, footnote, 62 

Mishikhwutmetunne Indians: 263, 

Missions: Spanish, 54; see also un- 
der names of several missions 

Missionaries: as explorers, 17 

Mississippi River: 19, 64, 163, 183 

Missoula River: 105 

Missouri: 63, 173, 175 

Missouri Fur Co: 30, 33, 36, foot- 
note, 55, 61, 63, 64, footnote, 69, 
77, 87, footnote, 109, iio-nz; or- 
ganization, 30; capital, 30 'discov- 
eries, 31; troubles with Indians, 30, 
31, 56, 70, 89; later history, 32, 33, 
170; Records Mss. cited, 34, foot- 
note, 61, footnote 

Missouri Historical Society: 14, 197; 
Collections cited, 23, footnote, 93, 

Missouri Intelligencer: cited in foot- 
notes on folloiving pages, 64, 70, 


The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

74, 76, 78, 80, 81, 83, 84, 86, 87, 
177, 291; quoted, 156, footnote, 294 

Missouri Lake: 284 

Missouri Republican: cited, 59, foot- 
note, 186, footnote, 218, footnote; 
reference, 68 

Missouri [Masiori] River: 18, 19, 20, 
21, 25, 27, 29, 32, 33, 36, footnote, 
37, footnote, 39, 40, 41, 53, 54, 55, 
58, footnote, 64, 67, 71, footnote, 
77, 87, 89, footnote, 90, 92, 101, 
106, 109, in, 113, H4> "9 A<- 
note, 122, footnote, 159, 161, 175, 
278, 302; exploration, 21, 22, 23, 52 

Missouri River Commission: Map of 
Missouri River cited, 75, foo/tnote 

Modoc Indians: 50 

Mofras, E. D. de: Exploration du 
Territoire de I'Oregon cited, 223, 

Mohave Desert: crossed by Smith, 
14, 190; described by Smith, 190; 
route to California via, 190, foot- 

Mohave [Ammuchaba, Muchaba] In- 
dians: encountered by Smith, 189- 
190, 230 ff. ; described by Smith, 189- 

Mokelumnes River: suggested as 
Smith's route, 192, footnote 

Montagnes, Francois des (pseu- 
donym) : Plains cited, 93, footnote 

Montana: 53; exploration, 33 

Monterey: 150, footnote, 193, foot- 
note, 199, footnote, 219, footnote, 
234, footnote, 306 ; arrival of Smith, 

Montpelier (Idaho) : 44, footnote 

Moreau River: 33 

Morgan County (Colo.) : 127, footnote 

Mormons: 143, footnote 

Morris, Lieutenant : in Arikara 

campaign, 81 

Morton [White Horse] Creek: 135, 

Moss, Dr. James W: 177 

Mount Joseph: see Mount Stanislaus 

Mount Richthofen: 130, footnote 

Mount Stanislaus [Joseph] : crossed 
by Smith, 192, 193, footnott, 306 

Mountain sheep: 131, 150, 187 

Mouse, Joseph: wounded by Arikara 
Indians, 74, footnote 

Muchaba Indians: see Mohave In- 

Muddy River: Smith on, 197, footnote 

Multnomah River: 102, 103, 154, 155, 
footnote, 196 

Muskmelon: 189 

Mussel Creek: Smith's camp near, 
264, footnote 

Musselshell River: 18; Smith on, 287 

NEEDLES (on Colorado) : Smith's 
crossing point, 190, footnote 

Neihardt, J. G: Song of Hugh Glass 
reference, 87, footnote 

Neil, A: killed by Indians, 88, foot- 

Nelson, : 285, footnote 

Nevada: 20, 51, 53, 188, footnote', 
crossed by Smith, 14, 183, 228 

New English Dictionary: cited, 194, 

New Hampshire: 179 

New London (Conn.) : 289 

New Mexico: 26, footnote, 54, 122, 
footnote, 150, footnote, 290 

Newell, Robert: 276, footnote 

Nez Perces Indians: 98, 99 

Niles Register: cited in footnotes on 
folloiving pages, 57, 68, 162, 163, 
165, 167, 169, 171, 278; quoted, 
278 ff. 

Nineveh: 214 

Niobrara River: 18, 120, footnote 

North Park: 55 

North Pass: ico, 109, 284 

North Pilot Butte: 134, footnote 

North Platte River: 19, 55, 92, 114, 
115, 1 1 6, 117, footnote, 123, 129, 
footnote, 132, 160, footnote, 165, 
171 ; route via, 14, 283 ; see also 
Platte River 



Northwest Fur Company: 23, foot- 
note, 40, 57, footnote; operations, 
40-41, 42-50, 51, 52; employs Dav- 
id Thompson, 40; see also Hud- 
son's Bay Fur Co. 

OAK: 152, 245 

Oakanagan: see Fort Oakanagan 

O'Fallon, Benjamin: 119, footnote; 
Report, cited, 162, footnote 

Ogden, Peter Skene: 17, 51, 108, 276, 
footnote, 280; commands Snake 
country expeditions, 42, 46 ff., 99, 
104-105, 106, 167, 277; at Fort Nez 
Perce, 47, 50; at Fort Vancouver, 

48, 50; at Flathead House, 45, 98, 
185 ; encounters Smith, Jackson, 
and Sublette's men, 280 ff. ; Jour- 
nals, 13 ; quoted, 280, 281 ; cited In 
footnotes on following pages, 48, 

49, 50, 106, 108, 167, 168, 169, 170, 
171, 172, 280 

Ogden (Utah) : 166 
Ogle, Ellis: killed by Ankara In- 
dians, 74, footnote 
O'Harra, Jacob: 283, footnote 
Old Spanish Trail: 150, footnote, 

156, footnote 

Omadi (Neb.) : 23, footnote 
Omaha (Neb.) : 21, 57, footnote 
Ophir (Oreg.) : Smith's camp near, 

263, footnote 

Oregon: 20, 51, 229; southern, 51, 
53. r 9S> 283; Smith in, 14, 260 ff., 

Oregon Historical Society, Quarter- 
ly, cited in footnotes on the follow- 
ing pages, 30, 40, 46, 47, 48, 49, 

50, 96, 97, 99, 108, 167, 168, 169, 
170, 171, 172, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283 

Oregon Trail: 52, 95; followed by 

Ashley, 160, footnote 
Oreaonian and Indians' Advocate: 

cited, 306, footnote 
Ortaga, Gregory: member of Smith's 

expedition to California (1827), 


Osage Indians: 24, 29 

Otter: 247, 267, 268, 270 

Ouray (Utah): 149, footnote 

Ozark Mountains: 19, 60, footnote 


307; defined, 20 

Pacific Fur Company: 33 

Pacific Ocean: 20, 25, 41, 54, 87, 101, 
102, 104, 114, 116, 133, 153, foot- 
note, 171, footnote, 183, 184, 194, 
footnote, 302, 307; Smith's party 
near, 243, 244, 249, 254; Thomas 
Virgin explores coast, 243-244; 
Rogers explores coast, 243-244; 
shore followed by Smith, 255-270 

Pahsimari River: 97 

Paiute [Pa-Ulche] Indians: location, 
188, footnote; encountered by 
Smith, 188, 230; culture described 
by Smith, 188-189 

Pale: member of Smith's expedition 
to California (1827), 229 

Palmer, Joseph: member of Smith's 
expedition to California (1827), 
229 ; accompanies Smith through 
California (1828), 238; reengaged, 

Pannack Indians: see Bannock In- 

Park, Mungo: 307 

Park City (Utah) : 153, footnote 

Park Creek: 143, footnote 

Park View Mountain: 130, footnote 

Parker, Rev. Samuel: Journal of ex- 
ploring Tour beyond Rocky Moun- 
tains: reference, 306; cited, 306, 
footnote; Map accompanying same, 
J SS footnote, 306-307; Smith's 
contributions to, 306-307 

Parry, Sir Wm. Edward: 307 

Pass Creek: 132, footnote 

Passes: Union, 34; North, too; South, 
39-40, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 100, 
109, no, 114, 116, 165, 171, 183, 
229, 283; northern, 109, 116; Ca- 
jon, 190, footnote; Teton, 29, 34, 


The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

37, footnote; see also under names 
of several passes 

Pattie, James O: 207, footnote, 291; 
Personal Narrative, cited, 207, 

Pa-Ulche Indians: see Paiule In- 

Pawnee [Cherry] Creek: 125, foot- 

Pawnee [Chani] Indians: 114, foot- 
note, 120, 121, 122, footnote, 123, 
124, footnote, 126, 128, 295; vil- 
lages of, 118, 119; tribes of, 120, 

Payette River: 280 

Pecos River: 19 

Peewan Creek: Smith near, 249, 

Pend d'Oreilles Indians: no 

Penn, James, Jr: killed by Arikara 
Indians, 74, footnote 

Pennsylvania: 86, footnote 

Perkins, Sergeant : in Arikara 
campaign, 81 

Perkins, Rufus: witnesses Smith's 
bond in California, 235 

Perrin du Lac, F. M: Voyages dans 
let deux Louisianes cited, 23, foot- 
note, 24, footnote 

Pettis, Spencer: 173 

Philips, David: sketch, 209, footnote; 
at San Gabriel, 209 

Pierre (Iroquois Indian) : 96 

Pierre's Fork: 96, footnote 

Pierre's Hole: 28, 29, 96, footnote, 
97, 100, 105 ; Smith in, 284 

Pike, Z. M: 29, footnote, 53, 120, 
footnote, 127, footnote 

Pilcher, Joshua: 32, 78; in Arikara 
campaign, 79, 80, 82, 85; com- 
petes with Smith, Jackson, and 
Sublette, 170-171; met by Yellow- 
stone Expedition, 163; Report cit- 
ed in footnotes on following pages, 
69, 89, 90, 91, 107, 168, 170; quot- 
ed, 90 

Pine: 131, 152, 249, 263, 265, 270 

Piper, Thully [Westley]: killed by 
Arikara Indians, 74, footnote 

Pireadero River ( ?) : 191, footnote, 
210, footnote 

Pistol River: Smith's camp near, 262, 
footnote; crossed by Smith, 263, 

Pitch: mine near Los Angeles, 223 

Pitt River: 49, footnote, 276, foot- 

Platte River: 19, 20, 21, 36, footnote, 
92, 113, 114, 115, 119, 120, 121, 
footnote, 125, footnote, 127, 128, 
X 36, *59 footnote, 162, 302; route 
via, 13; forks, 115, 120, 121, 122, 
134, footnote, 165; see also North 
Platte River and South Platte Riv- 

Plumb Point: 119, 120, 136 

Point St. George: Smith's camp on, 
256, footnote 

Polite: member of Smith's expedi- 
tion to California (1827), 229 

Popo Agie River: 33; rendezvous on, 

Pomona (Calif.) : 225, footnote 

Porcupine River: 162 

Portneuf River: 280, 282; Ogden on, 
47 48, 50; Ashley's men on, 167 

Port Orford: Smith's camp near, 264, 

Posada, Fray Alonso de: 150, foot- 
note; Informe, cited, 150, footnote 

Posts: see under names of several 
posts and under Fur Trade 

Potosi: 60, 62; Ashley in business 
at, 61 ; Andrew Henry at, 61 ff. 

Potosi Academy: 62, 63 

Powder River: 18, 161 ; Smith win- 
ters on (1829-1830), 285, 286-287 

Powell, J. W: 140, 141, 145, 146, 
149 ; Exploration of Colorado Riv- 
er of West, cited in footnotes on 
following Pages, 140, 141, 142, 

H3, 4S 146, 149 

Powers, Stephen: Tribes of Califor- 
nia cited in footnotes on follovj- 



ing pages, 241, 243, 248, 253, 258 
Powhatan County (Va.) : 59 
Prairie de Chevaux: 105, footnote 
Prairie Dog Creek: 120, footnote 
Pratte, Bernard and Co. (fur trad- 
ers) : 58, 171, footnote 
Pratte and Vasquez (fur traders) : 

56, footnote 

Preuss Mountains: 38, footnote 
Prickly pear (genus Echinocactus) : 

described by Smith, 188 
Promontory Point: 47 
Prospectors: as explorers, 17 
Provot, Etienne: 68, 103, footnote, 
104, 106, 107, 144, footnote, 153, 
footnote, 156, footnote; in South 
Pass, 93 ff. ; in Interior Basin, 95 
Pryor, Nathaniel: 36, footnote; let- 
ter to William Clark cited, 29, 

Pryor's Fork: 69; Smith on, 287 
Pryor's Gap: 287 
Pumpkins: 189 


Quigley, Hugh: Irish Race in Cali- 
fornia cited, 179, footnote 

RAFT RIVER: Ashley's men on, 167 
Rainy encampment: 197, footnote 
Ranna [Ranne, Ransa], (John) Pe- 
ter: 272; member of Smith's ex- 
pedition to California (1826), 187, 
footnote; sent to Los Angeles, 223; 
accompanies Smith through Cali- 
fornia (1828), 237, footnote, 238; 
ill, 242, 270; difficulty with In- 
dians, 252 ; reengaged, 265 
Ransa, Peter: see Ranna, Peter 
Raspberry (rubus occidentalis), 
[Scotch cap]: 194, 245, 250, 251, 
252, 268, 270 

Ratelle, J. B: member of Smith's ex- 
pedition to California (1827), 229 
Rattlesnake Creek: 132, footnote 
Ray County (Mo.) : 173, footnote 
Raynolds, W. F: Report on Explor- 

ations of Yellowstone River cited, 
1 60, footnote 

Red Canyon: 142, footnote, 143, foot- 

Redwood Creek: 240, footnote, 242, 
footnote, 243, footnote, 244, foot- 
note; descended by Rogers and 
Virgin, 243 

Redwood Mountains: Smith on and 
near, 246, footnote 

Reed [Read], James (blacksmith) : 
member of Smith's expedition to 
California (1826), 186, footnote; 
employed at San Gabriel, 204; 
flogged by Smith, 204; in brawl, 
219; mentioned, 220, 227 

Reed's River: 280 

Reese, : 285, footnote 

Reeves, L. U: Life and Military 
Services of General William S. 
Harney: cited, 161, footnote, 162, 

Rendezvous: description, 67, 111-112; 
conducted by Ashley (1825), 108, 
112, 156-157, (1826), 165, 168; at 
Bear Lake (1827), 171, 228, 280; 
on Popo Agie, 283, 284; mention- 
ed, 139, 140, 157, 161, 183, 184, 
186, footnote, 228, 229, 277, 280, 
282, 288, 293 

Report of Geological Exploration of 
Fortieth Parallel, Geological and 
Topographical Atlas (King Sur- 
vey) : cited, 127, footnote 

Republican Fork (of Kansas) : 19, 
120, footnote 

Requa: Smith's camp near, 252, foot- 
note, 254, footnote 

Reubasco, John: see Robiseau 

Rezner, Jacob: 33, 34, 37, 59 

Rialto: 225, footnote 

Rich man, I.B : California under Spain 
and Mexico cited, 190, footnote, 
199, footnote; Map of Twenty-two 
Spanish and American Trails ac- 
companying same, reference, 187, 
footnote; cited, 193, footnote 


The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Ricketts, Abraham: wounded by 
Arikara Indians, 74, footnote 

Riley, Capt. : 80 

Riley, Major : 192 

Rio Coloraddo of West: see Colo- 
rado River 

Rio Estanislao: see Stanislaus River 

Rio Grande del Norte: 19, 20, 35, 
100, 101 

Rio San Felipe: 102 

River of Falls: see Deschutes River 

River of West: see Columbia River 

Riviere aux Malades: 280 

Robidoux, Antoine: 152, footnote 

Robidoux, Joseph: 156, footnote', in 
Santa Fe trade, 291 

Robidoux and Papin (fur traders) : 
56, footnote 

Robinson, Edward: 33, 34, 37, 59 

Robinson, Thomas M: signs testi- 
monial to Smith's character, 213, 

Robiseau [Reubasco], John ( ?) : 
member of Smith's expedition to 
California (1827): 229, 237, foot- 
note; accompanies Smith through 
California (1828), 238 

Robledillo (Spain): 205, footnote 

Rock Creek: 131, footnote 

Rock Creek Encampment (of Smith) : 
197, footnote 

Rocky Mountains: 22, 32, 36, foot- 
note, 41, 44, footnote, 53, 55, 115, 
117, 154, footnote, 157, 171 foot- 
note, 172, 181, footnote, 186, 256, 
278, 289, 295, 305 ; sighted by Ash- 
ley, 127; see also Cordillera 

Rocky Mountain Fur Company: 170, 
288, 290, 300; see also Fitzpatrick, 
Sublette, and Bridger 

Rocky Point: 242, footnote 

Rogers, Harrison G: 191, footnote, 
195; sketch, 194; with Smith in 
California, 165, footnote; at San 
Gabriel, 198-225; New Year's Ad- 
dress, 213-216; at Los Angeles, 

213-214; accompanies Smith 
through California (1828), 237- 
238 ; explores shore of the Pacific, 
243-244; gifts to Indians, 252; 
reprimands Ranna, 252; as hunt- 
er, 259; journals o 14; First 
Journal, 186, footnote, 194, 196, 
197-228, 228, footnote, 276; Second 
Journal, 196, 237, 271, 276; refer- 
ence, 229, footnote; quoted, 196 

Rogue River: 277, footnote; Ogden 
on, 49, 51; Smith's camp on, 263, 
footnote; Smith crosses, 263, foot- 

Rose, Edward: 36, footnote, 86; ov- 
erland Astorian, 33, 34; in Ari- 
kara campaign, 79 

Rosebud River: Smith on (1830), 287 

Ross, Alexander: 17, 44, 47, 97, 105, 
183; quoted, 44, footnote, 45; 
heads Snake country expedition, 
42, 44, 45, 96; explorations, 45, 51; 
at Flathead House, 45, 98, 183, 
185; Fur Hunters of Far West 
cited in footnotes on following 
Pages, 30, 42, 43, 44, 45, 95, 96, 
97, 99, no, 136; Journals, 13; 
Journal, Flathead House cited, 99, 
footnote; Journal of Snake River 
Expedition, 1824, cited in footnotes 
on following pages, 45, 90, 95, 
96, 97, 98, 99, 105, 107 

Ross's Hole: 99 

Ruiz, Maria del Carmen: 220, foot- 

SABIN, E.L: Kit Carson Days cited, 
in footnotes on following pages, 
179, 180, 182, 302 

Sacramento River: 20, 21, 51, 192, 
footnote, 257 

Sacramento Standard: cited, 104, 

Sage, R.B: Rocky Mountain Life cit- 
ed, 87, footnote, 125, footnote, 156, 

Sage Creek: Ashley's men on, 167 



Sage-brush (artemisia tridentata) : 

St. Abbiso, Francis: 222 

St. Anne (farm near San Gabriel) : 
225, 226 

St. Charles (Mo.) : 70, footnote, 164 

Saint Fernando: see San Fernando 

Saint Gabriel: see San Gabriel 

St. Louis: 25, 26, 27, 29, 59, 60, 61, 
64, 68, 69, 70, footnote, 76, 77, 
footnote, 85, 90, 115, footnote, n6, 
117, 151, footnote, 165, 169, 171, 
172, footnote, 175, 176, x8x, 183, 
185, 217, footnote, 230, footnote, 
281, 283, 288, 289, 293, 294, 302; 
center of fur trade, 21, 58; peti- 
tion of citizens of, 57; arrival of 
Ashley, 1825, 163 ; of Smith, Jack- 
son, and Sublette, 1830, 289 

St. Louis Missouri Fur Company: see 
Missouri Fur Company 

St. Louis Reveille: 90; cited, in foot- 
notes on following pages, 86, 89, 
90, 92, 95, 115, 17! 

St. Paul (apostle): 215 

Salish Indians: 274, footnote 

Salmon River: 97, 100, 105; Snake 
country expedition on, 44, foot- 
note, 45 

Salt: 44, 154, footnote, 158, 188, 190, 

Salt Lake: see Great Salt Lake 

Salt Lake City: 143, footnote, 144, 
footnote, 145, footnote 

Salt River: 101 ; overland Astorians 
on, 38, footnote; trapped by Ash- 
ley's men, 165 

Saltpetre: 61 

Sampatch Indians: see Sanpete In- 

San Bernardino Mission: sketch, 225, 
footnote ; Smith encamped near, 
192, footnote, 225, 226, 228 ; 
Smith's party at and near, 225, 

Sanchez, Jose Bernardo (head of 
Mission of San Gabriel) : 217, foot- 

note, 224, 225 ; estimate by Rog- 
ers, 226; sketch, 205, footnote', 
kindness to Rogers, 225, 226 

San Diego: 194, 199, footnote, 205, 
footnote, 207, 209, footnote, 212, 
footnote, 222, 231, footnote, 236; 
Smith at, 190, 195, 306; sails from, 
217, footnote; Thomas Virgin at, 

San Fernando [Saint Fernando] : 191, 

San Francisco: 153, footnote, 192, 
footnote, 193, footnote-, 232, 236, 306 

San Gabriel Mission: 192, footnote, 
193, footnote, 194, 205, footnote, 
217, 222, 232, 236; description, 198, 
200, 224; ranching, 198, 200, 212; 
hospitality, 198-199, 203, 204, 206, 
212, 225 ; vineyards, 203, 205 ; or- 
chards, 200, 205, 210; wedding at, 
203 ; treatment of Indians^ 203, 
205, 206, 207-208, 211, 216, 217, 
223 ; music at, 208, 219 ; services, 
208-209, 2I 6> 219 ; manufacturing, 
209, 212, 218-219; sketch, 198, 
footnote; arrival of Smith (1826), 
191, footnote, 195; Smith at 
(1827), 197, footnote, 231 

San Joaquin River: 20, 21, 191, foot- 

San Jose Mission: 231, 232, footnote, 
233; arrival of Smith (1827), 233 

San Juan Capistrano Mission: 222; 
sketch, 222, footnote 

San Luis Rey Mission: 222, footnote 

San Pedro: 204, 217, 306 

Sand Creek: 292 

Sandy River: 39, 52, 95, xoo, 138, 
footnote, 165; naming of, 139; see 
also Big Sandy River 

Sanpete [Sampatch] Indians: en- 
countered by Smith, 187, 230 

Santa Anita: 224, footnote, 225 

Santa Clara [Clare] River: 191, 
footnote, 210, footnote 

Santa Clare River: see Santa Clara 

The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Santa Cruz: 156, footnote 

Santa Fe: 36, footnote, 150, footnote, 
156, footnote, 181, footnote, 196, 
212, footnote, 290, 294, 295, 297, 
footnote, 299; trade with, 290, 291; 
road to, 54, 291-292; magnitude of 
trade with, 292, footnote', trade 
compared with fur trade, 293 

Saone Indians: in Ankara campaign, 

78, 79 

Saskatchewan River: explored by 
David Thompson, 40, 41 

Schoolcraft, H. R: Journal of Tour 
into Interior of Missouri and Ar- 
kansas cited, 61, footnote; Scenes 
and Adventures in Semi-Alpine 
Regions of Ozark Mountains cited, 

60, footnote, 61, footnote; Vievj 
of Lead Mines of Missouri cited, 

61, footnote, 62, footnote 
Score Indians: 69, footnote 

Scotch cap (rubus occidentalis) : see 

Scott, Hiram: commands in Ankara 
campaign, 79 

Scott, James: signs testimonial to 
Smith's character, 213, footnote 

Scott, James: 283, footnote 

Seedskedee River: see Colorado River 

Seven Devils (ravines on Pacific 
coast) : 266, footnote 

Sevier Lake: 155, footnote, 168, foot- 
note, 187, footnote, 188, footnote 

Sevier River: 187, footnote, 188, foot- 

Sharp Point: 244, footnote 

Shasta Indians: 49 

Shaw, Thomas: signs testimonial to 
Smith's character, 213, footnote; at 
San Gabriel, 221, 222; sketch, 221, 

Sheep Creek: 141, footnote 

Sheephead Mountain: 132, footnote 

Shehaka (Mandan chief) : 36, foot- 

Sherrydikas Indians: 44, footnote 

Shoshone Indians: 155, 157 

Sibley, Geo. C: 36, footnote 

Sibley Mss: cited, 57, footnote, 292, 

Sierra Mountains: 20, 51, 154, foot- 
note, 191; crossed by Smith (1827), 

Sierra Madre Mountains: 133, foot- 

Simons, Dr. : 179, 180 

Simpson, J. H: Report of Explora- 
tion across Great Basin cited, 
167, footnote 

Sioux Indians: in Arikara campaign, 
78 ff. 

Siskadee River: see Colorado River 

Skidi Indians: see Pawnee Indians 

Slavery: Ashley's attitude toward, 

Smith, Austin: in St. Louis, 290; 
Santa Fe trader, 290; letter cited, 
297, footnote, 298, footnote 

Smith, E. D: Jedediah Smith and 
Settlement of Kansas cited, 179, 
footnote, 181, footnote, 184, foot- 
note, 290, footnote, 298, footnote 

Smith, Jedediah: 179 

Smith, Jedediah Strong: 51, 92, 102, 
footnote, 104, footnote, 106, 107, 
138, footnote, 155, footnote, 158, 
160, footnote, 162, 164, 165, 186, 
196, 197, 200, 203, 204, 205, 206, 
207, 208, 211, 212, 216, 217, 218, 

221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 

228, 229, 284, 285, footnote, 295, 
296, 297, 298, 307; birth, 179; 
early life, 179; arrival in St. 
Louis, 181 ; in employ of Ashley, 
70, 86, 181; in Arikara campaign, 
76, 79, 181; in mountains (1823- 
1825), 88, 182-183; heads party of 
Ashley-Henry men, 88, 139, foot- 
note, 157, 182-183; injured by 
bear, 89 ; supplants Andrew Hen- 
ry, 91, 184, footnote; traps Colum- 
bia drainage area, 95, 183 ; meets 
Alexander Ross, 45, 96-97, 183 ; 
at Flathead House, 98-99, 183; 



in Cache Valley, 104, 139, foot- 
note; at rendezvous (1825), 157, 
158, 183 ; buys interest in fur 
trade, 168, 183-184; commands ex- 
pedition to California (1826), 116, 
165, footnote, 183 ; route, 14, 186- 
194, 306; merchandise taken, 197; 
arrival in California, 198 ; at San 
Gabriel, 198-208, 221, 222, 224; at 
San Pedro, 217, 218, footnote, 222; 
at San Diego, 208, 211, 217, foot- 
note; sails from San Diego, 217, 
footnote; at San Bernardino, 225, 
226, 227, 228 ; returns to rendez- 
vous (1827), 172, 186, 228-229; 
second expedition to California 
(1827), 14, 229 ff., 280; route, 
230 ff . ; companions, 229-230; catas- 
trophe in crossing Colorado, 230; 
makes for San Gabriel, 231; let- 
ter to Padre Duran, 232 ; rejoins 
his men on Stanislaus, 233; at 
San Jose, 233; at Monterey, 233, 
234; imprisoned, 234; interviews 
Echeandia, 234, 235; gives bond 
to leave California, 235 ; compan- 
ions, 237; route, 238-271; ex- 
plores way, 238, 248, 257, 258, 272, 
273; kicked by mule, 251; kills 
elk, 254; pursues Indians, 255, 
265 ; reengages his men, 265 ; 
among Umpqua Indians, 271 ff. ; 
escapes massacre on Umpqua, 273 ; 
at Fort Vancouver, 50, 274, 275 ; 
rejoins his partners, 277, 284; 
agreement with Dr. McLaughlin, 
284; in Blackfodt country, 285; 
winters in Wind and Powder Riv- 
er Valleys, 285-286; commands ex- 
pedition of 1830, 287; sells fur 
business, 288 ; returns to St. Louis, 
288 ; engages in Santa Fe trade, 
294; sources for last days, 297, 
footnote; death, 196, 298; charac- 
ter, 300 ff. ; Ashley's opinion of, 
153 ; testimonial of character, 213, 
footnote; Warner's opinion of, 

289; knowledge of geography, 185, 
302 ; explorations and discoveries 
in general, 13, 17, too, 116, 158, 

183, 184, 186 ff., 302, 305; contri- 
butions to cartography, 302 ff., 306, 
footnote; letter to Ralph Smith 
cited in footnotes on following 
Pages, 180, 285, 296, 299, 301; 
Captain Jedediah Strong Smith, 
Eulogy cited in footnotes on fol- 
lowing pages, 179, 180, 181, 182, 
294, 296, 297, 298, 301, 302, 306, 
307; see also Smith, Jackson, and 

Smith, Ralph: 289 

Smith, Peter: in St. Louis, 290; starts 

for Santa Fe, 290; in Santa Fe, 299 
Smith, Mrs. Peter: narrative cited, 

297, footnote, 298, footnote 
Smith Mss: cited, 180, footnote 
Smith, Jackson, and Sublette: firm 

of, 50, 107, footnote, 168, 194, 231, 

footnote, 294, 295, 300; operations, 

184, 279, footnote, 283, footnote; 
methods of conducting business, 
170, 293 ; trap Interior Basin, 277 ; 
disaster (1828), 283; last rendez- 
vous, 288 ; letter to John Eaton, 
quoted, 288, footnote; cited, 288, 
footnote, 302, footnote; sell to 
Fitzpatrick, Sublette, and Bridger, 
169, 170; return to St. Louis, 288, 
289 ; in Santa Fe trade, 294, 295 ; 
see also Smith, Jedediah Strong; 
Jackson, David E.; and Sublette, 

Smith River (Calif.) : 258, footnote, 

270, footnote; Smith crosses, 259, 

Smithfield Fork (of Logan River) : 

Smith's Fork (of Bear River) : 38, 

footnote, 103 
Smith's River: 69 
Smoky Hill Fork (of Kansas River) : 


Snake country expeditions: of Brit- 


The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

ish companies, 41 ff., 67, 96, 104, 
105, footnote, 106, 136, footnote; 
geographic discoveries, 42-43, 44, 
45 ff., 52-53 ; of Smith, Jackson, and 
Sublette, 280-281, 283, 284 
Snake Indians: 46, 54, footnote, 91, 
96, 103, no, 134, 144, footnote, 
151, 279; encountered by M'Ken- 
zie, 43; country, 42 
Snake River [Lewis Fork]: 19, 43, 
44, 46, 5*. 54, '34, 136, footnote, 
154, footnote, 157, 278, 280, 281, 
284, 287; exploration of, 31, 52; 
British exploration, 41, 52; As- 
torians (westbound) on, 34, 35, 52; 
(east bound) on, 37, 38; Ogden 
on, 48, 50; trapped by Smith, 95, 
96; Ashley's men on, 167; see also 
Snake Country Expeditions 
Sneed, Benjamin F: killed by Ari- 

kara Indians, 74, footnote 
Soda Springs: 136, footnote, 229 
Soil: character, 136-137, 140 
Solitaire (pseudonym of John S. 
Robb) : Major Fitzpatrick, Discov- 
erer of South Pass cited, 89, foot- 

Solomon Fork (of Kansas) : 19 
South Dakota: 19, 71, footnote 
South Pass: 39, 40, 89, 90, too, 109, 
114, 115, footnote, 116, 135, foot- 
note, 160, footnote, 165, 171, 183, 
229, 283 ; used by Ashley-Henry 
men, 40, 90; Thomas Fitzpatrick 
in, 89-90, 92, 183; Provot in, 93 ff. 
South Platte River: 19, 123, 129, 
footnote; route via, 14, 58, foot- 
note; see also Platte River and 
North Platte River 
South Slough: Smith near, 267, foot- 
note; crossed by Smith, 268, foot- 

Southern California Historical So- 
ciety, Publications', cited, 213, foot- 

Spanish exploration: 26, footnote, 53 
Spanish River: see Colorado River 

Spanish River Mountain: 38 

Split-mountain Canyon: Ashley in, 
149, footnote, 150, footnote 

Spokane House: 41, 105, footnote, 106 

Standing Rock Indian Reservation: 
71, footnote 

Stanislaus River [Rio Estanislao] : 
Smith on (1827), 192, footnote, 
228; encampment at, 228, 233; men 
encamped on, difficulties with Mex- 
ican authorities, 231-232 

Stansbury, Howard: Expedition to 
Valley of Great Salt Lake of Utah 
cited, 167, footnote 

Steamboats: see Boats, Steamboats 

Stephens, Aaron: killed by Ankara 
Indians, 72, 74, footnote 

Stewart, Sir William Drummond: 
letter quoted, 152, footnote 

Stinking Fork: 278, 285 

Stockmore (Utah) : 152, footnote 

Stone, Bostwick and Company (fur 
traders) : 58, in 

Strawberries: 256, 258, 259, 260, 268 

Strawberry Creek: 106 

Strawberry River: 152, footnote 

Stuart, Robert: commands returning 
Astorians, 36, 37, 109 

Sublette, Andrew: 59 

Sublette, Milton: 59; commands par- 
ty of trappers (1829), 284; joins 
Smith's party, 285; buys interest 
in fur trade, 288 ; in New Mexico, 
290; see also Fitzpatrick, Sublette, 
and Bridger 

Sublette, Pinckney: 59, death, 283, 

Sublette, Solomon: 59 

Sublette, William L: 59, 95, 104, 
footnote, 106, 139, footnote, 159, 
footnote, 160, footnote, 165, 166, 
168, 229, 281, 283, 284, 285, foot- 
note, 288, footnote, 293, 295, 306, 
footnote; sketch, 70, footnote; in 
employ of Ashley, 70, 86 ; in Ari- 
kara campaign, 79; buys interest 
in fur trade, 168, 183 ; at rendez- 



voux (1827), 168, 171; at rendez- 
vous (1828), 283; at rendezvous 
(1829), 283; in Snake country, 284; 
at rendezvous (1830), 288; in San- 
ta Fe trade, 294; encounters with 
Indians, 299 ; in Santa Fe, 299 ; 
see also Smith, Jackson, and Sub- 

Sublette Mss: cited in footnotes on 
following pages, 70, 107, 152, 168, 
169, 218, 230, 231, 235, 288, 300 

Sublette's Cut-off: 103, footnote 

Suchadee River: see Colorado River 

Sulphur: 278 

Sunday: observance at San Gabriel, 
206, 208, 2ii, 220 

Supply Creek: Smith's camp near, 
239, footnote 

Swan River: 40 

Sweet Lake: 278 

Sweetwater River: 19, 91, 95, 100, 
112, 160, footnote, 165, 283; re- 
turning Astorians on, 39, 40; navi- 
gated by Fitzpatrick, 92 

Swift, Charles: member of Smith's 
expedition to California (1827), 
229; accompanies Smith through 
California (1828), 237; reengaged, 

Switzler, W.F: General William 
Henry Ashley, cited in footnotes 
on follo<wing pages, 59, 63, 172, 
173, 177, 185 

Switzler, W.F: Historical Sketch of 
Missouri cited, 173, footnote 

Sylvaille's River: Ogden on, 48 


Taos (N. M.) : 87, footnote, 156, 
181, footnote, 288, footnote, 291, 
footnote, 292; markets, 293 

Taylor, Richard: member of Smith's 
expedition to California (1827), 
229 ; accompanies Smith through 
California (1828), 238 

Teggart, F. J: Notes Supplementary 

to any Edition of Lewis and Clark 
cited, 22, footnote, 23, footnote, 24, 

Teton Mountains [Trois Tetons] : 
284; sighted by overland Astor- 
ians, 34; crossed by Astorians, 35, 


Teton Pass: 29; overland Astorians 
on, 34, 37, footnote 

Teton River: 78, 161 

Tewinty River: see Uintah River 

Texas County (Mo.) : 60 

Theodore (Utah) : 152, footnote 

Thoglas Creek: Smith's camp on, 
261, footnote 

Thomas Fork (of Bear River): 38, 

Thompkins, Benjamin: 177 

Thompson, David: 52; career of, 40; 
at Astoria, 41 

Thompson, Joseph: wounded by Ari- 
kara Indians, 74, footnote 

Thompson Falls: 98 

Thompson and West: History of Los 
Angeles County, California cited, 
217, footnote, 220, footnote 

Thomson, John: New and General 
Atlas cited, 153, footnote 

Three Buttes: 45 

Three Forks (of Missouri) : 28, 
footnote, 56, 58, loo, 109, 124, foot- 
note, 282; fort at, 30, 31, 32 

Thummel (Neb.) : 119, footnote 

Thwaites, R. G: Early Western 
Travels, 13 ; cited in footnotes on 
following pages, 13, 29, 37, 91, 
170, 184, 199, 207; see also under 
titles of various works included in 
above; Original Journals of Lewis 
and Clark Expeditions cited, in 
footnotes on following pages, 25, 

27, 33, 59, 99, 130 

Tillamook [Killimour] Indians: be- 
friend Arthur Black, 274 

Tilton's Fork: 87, footnote 

Tolowa Indians: 258, footnote 

Tongue River: 18, 287 


The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Trading posts: see Forts and Fur 

Trans-Missouri area: 25; geography 
of, 18; discoveries in, 13, 17 

Trinity [Indian Scalp] River: 240, 
footnote, 248, footnote; Smith en- 
camped on, 238, footnote, 246; 
Smith crosses, 238, footnote, 246- 
247, 247, footnote 

Trois Tetons: see Teton Mountains 

Trudeau, J. B: 22; Journals, 13, 23; 
explorations, 23 

Trudeau, Zenon (lieut.-gov. of 
Louisiana) : 22 

Trumble, : killed by Indians, 88, 

Tucker, Robert: wounded by Arikara 
Indians, 74, footnote 

Tullock, Samuel: 107, 108, footnote, 
283; meets Ogden (1827-1828), 
280; attempts to go to Salt Lake, 
280-281; starts for Blackfoot coun- 
try (1828), 282; raises cache of 
furs, 288 

Tullock's Fork (of Bear River) : 103 

Turner, John: member of Smith's ex- 
pedition to California (1827), 229; 
accompanies Smith through Cali- 
fornia, 237, footnote, 238 ; explor- 
ing detachment, 241-242 ; escapes 
massacre on the Umpqua, 196, 
273 ff. ; at Fort Vancouver, 275 ; in 
California again, 277; sketch, 277, 

Twitchell, R. E: Leading Facts of 
Ne<w Mexican History cited, 54, 

Two Larres [Tulare] Lake: 191, 
footnote, 210, footnote 

UINTAH MOUNTAINS: 94, 101, 138, 
footnote, 153, footnote 

Uintah [Tewinty] River: 149, 150, 
151, 152, 158, footnote; ascended 
by Ashley, 149, 152; Hudson's 
Bay Company post on, 152, foot- 

Umpqua Indians: 50, 267, footnote, 
270; encountered by Smith, 269- 
270, 271, 272; attitude, 272; mas- 
sacre Smith's party, 273, 274 

Umpqua River: 195, 237, footnote, 
270, footnote; crossed by Smith, 
270, footnote, 272; travelled by 
Smith, 269, footnote, 271, footnote; 
massacre on, 194, 220, footnote, 
223, 273 ff., 283 

Uncompaghre River: 156, footnote 

Union Pass: 34, 35, 284 

U.S. American State Papers, Indian 
Affairs: cited, 36, footnote, 68, 
footnote, 74, footnote 

U.S. Bureau of American Ethnology: 
Seventh Annual Report cited, 152, 

U.S. Geological Survey: Topographic 
Maps cited, 132, footnote, 142, 
footnote, 263, footnote, 265, foot- 

U.SL House: Executive Documents 
cited, in footnotes on following 
pages, m, 112, 117, 120, 123, 177, 

U.S. Senate: Executive Documents 
cited in footnotes on following 
pages, 60, 64, 68, 69, 73, 76, 77, 
78, 79, 89, 90, 91, 98, 107, in, 112, 
117, 120, 123, 156, 162, 168, 169, 
170, 171, 172, 177, 182, 275, 276, 
280, 281, 282, 283, 288, 302 

U.S. War Department: 14 

United States: Indian policy, 56-57; 
as exploring agency, 24, 26, 53 

Upper Missouri Drainage Area: 19, 
20, 21, 26, 32, 33, 55 ff., 58, 307; 
defined, 18 ; crossed by Lewis and 
Clark, 25 ; operations of Lisa in, 
26, 27; of Mo. Fur Co. in, 30, 32 

Upper Springs (on Santa Fe trail) : 
296, footnote 

Utah: 20, 53, 151, footnote, 185, 188, 

Utah [Uta, Little Uta] Lake: 106, 
152, footnote, 153, footnote, 155, 



footnote, 168, footnote; explored, 
53 ; Smith near, 187 
Utaw Indians: see Ute Indians 
Ute [Eutau, Eutaw, Utaw] Indians: 
54, 144, footnote, 154, 186, foot- 
note, 187, footnote, 279 ; country 
of, 46; described by Ashley, 151; 
tribe encountered by Ashley, 150; 
presents made by Smith, 197; en- 
countered by Smith (1827), 230 

VANDALIA (111.) : 176 

Vanderburgh, Henry: in Ankara 
campaign, 79 

Vasquez, Louis: 104; in Ashley's em- 
ploy, 86 ; letter cited, 104, footnote 

Vasquez Mss: cited, 104, footnote, 
139, footnote 

Vermont, Mr. : see Virmond, 

Victor, F.F: River of West: cited 
in footnotes on following pages, 
112, 139, 184, 273, 274, 276, 283, 
284, 285, 287, 288, 295, 300 

Virgin, Thomas: member of Smith's 
expedition to California (1827), 
188, footnote, 229; left in south- 
ern California (1827), 231, foot- 
note, 236; accompanies Smith 
through California (1828), 237; 
ill, 242; reaches Pacific, 243-244; 
kills Indian, 244, 245, 247, 272; 
as hunter, 248, 250; explores way, 
243, 248, 257 

Virgin River: descended by Smith 
(1826), 188, footnote; description, 

Virginia: 59, 62 

Virmond [Vermont], Henry: be- 
friends Smith, 236; sketch, 236, 

Viscara, (colonel) : 293 

Vroman (Neb.): 120, footnote 

WAGONS: use in mountains, 171, 172, 

Wahndorf and Tracy: 164 

Walcott (Wyo.) : 132, footnote 

Waldo, David: 288, footnote, 297, 

Waldo, William: 297, footnote; 
Reminiscences of Jedediak S. 
Smith, Ms. cited in footnotes on 
following pages, 77, 180, 181, 297, 

Walker Lake: 193, footnote 

Walla Walla (Wash.) : 43 

Wallace, Dillon: Saddle and Camp 
in Rockies cited, 228, footnote 

War of 1812: 55, 56, 62, 63 

Warner, J.J: 290; interviews Smith, 
289; goes to Santa Fe, 294; rem- 
iniscences of Early California cit- 
ed in footnotes on following pages, 
184, 191, 192, 230, 231, 273, 274, 
277, 289, 290, 295, 296, 297, 298, 

Warren, G. K: Memoir cited, 103, 
footnote, 104, footnote, 167, foot- 

Wasatch Mountains: 101, 106, 143, 
footnote, 152, footnote, 229 

Washington (D.C.) : 25 

Washington (state) : 20, 41 

Washington County (Mo.) : 62 

Wasp: reference, 278, footnote 

Watermelons: 189 

Wayne County (Ohio) : 181, footnote 

Weber County (Utah): 106 

Weber's Fork: see Weber River 

Weber Lake: 165, footnote 

Weber River: 94, 101, 103, 153, foot- 
note, 158, footnote, 165, footnote, 

Webster, Daniel: in St. Louis, 176 

Weiser River: 280 

Weld County (Colo.) : 127, footnote 

Wells, Mr. (Santa Fe trader) : 295 

West Walker River: Smith on 
(1827): 193, footnote 

Western Literary Messenger: refer- 
ence, 278, footnote 

Wetmore, A: Gazeteer of Missouri 
cited, 63, footnote 


The Ashley-Smith Explorations 

Wheat: 189 

Whirlpool Canyon: Ashley in, 149, 

Whiskey Run: Smith's camp near, 

266, footnote 

White Horse Creek: see Morton 


White River: 150, footnote 
Wilcox, Mrs. Elizabeth: Ashley's 

second wife, 177, footnote 
Wild Sage: see Sage brush 
Wilkes, Charles: Narrative of United 

States Exploring Expedition cited, 

307, footnote 
Wilkinson, Benjamin: 30 
Willamette Cattle Company: 271, 

Willamette [Multnomah, Multino- 

mah] River: 50, 155, footnote, 196, 

267, 271 ; Indians on, 267, foot- 

William and Mary College: Quar- 
terly cited, 59, footnote 
Williams, : 95 

Williams, Ezekiel: 35, footnote, 86, 
93, footnote; wanderings, 34, foot- 
note, 36, footnote, 54; letter cited, 
35, footnote 

Williamson River: Ogden on, 49 
Willis (negro) : wounded by Ankara 

Indians, 74, footnote 
Willow Valley: see Cache Valley 
Willows: 135, 136, 144, 152, 279 
Wimilchi Indians: encountered by 
Smith, 191 ; location, 192, footnote 
Wilson, John: 218; member of 
Smith's expedition to California 
(1826), 187, footnote', discharged 
from Smith's employ, 227; sketch, 
227, footnote 
Wilson Creek: Smith's camp near, 

255, footnote 

Winchester Bay: 270, footnote 
Wind River: 18, 34, 52, 134, footnote, 
1 60, footnote', valley of, 34; Ash- 
ley-Henry operations on, 89; as- 
cended by Wm. Sublette, 284; win- 

ter quarters of Smith, 285 ; ren- 
dezvous (1830), 288 
Wind River Mountains: 18, 29, 33, 

39, 100, 1 60 

Windchuck Creek: 260, footnote 
Wisconsin Historical Society: 14 
Wootton, Richard: 139, footnote 
Work, John: 42, 105, footnote, 106 
Wyeth, N. J: letter cited in footnotes 
on following pages, 64, 68, 91, 107, 
162, 165, 168, 169 

Wyoming: 19, 20, 116; exploration 
of northern, 33 

X.Y. Fur Company: 40 

YAMPAH [Bear, Mary's] RIVER: 146, 

Yellowstone Expedition (1825): 161- 

162; meets Ashley, 162 
Yellowstone National Park: 28, 29, 
footnote, 285, footnote; exploration, 
28 ; Smith, Jackson, and Sublette's 
men in (1827), 278(1.; description 
(1827), 278-279 

Yellowstone Pass: 96, footnote 
Yellowstone River: 18, 26, 27, 29, 33, 
36, footnote, 52, 57, 58, 64, foot- 
note, 68, 79, footnote, 86, 87, 
footnote, 88, 90, 94, footnote, 107, 
109, no, 114, 161, 162, 182, 183, 
278, 285, 287, 294; Ashley-Henry 
fort on, 76, 88, 161 ; trapped by 
Ashley-Henry men, 89, footnote; 
description by Ashley, 161 ; Atkin- 
son's expedition, 57, 161, 162; 
source, 35, footnote 
Young, Brigham: 185 
Young, Ewing: 277, footnote, 290 
Young, F.G: Sources of History of 
Oregon: cited in footnotes on fol- 
lowing pages, 64, 68, 91, 107, 162, 
165, 168, 169 

Yuma Indians: 189, footnote 
Yurok Indians: in footnotes on fol- 
lowing pages, 241, 250, 251, 258; 
culture of, 247, footnote 

* JP